Is your landlord wrongfully refusing to return your deposit? Is your apartment infested or otherwise not being maintained? Are you facing foreclosure or eviction? The District of Columbia Code provides strong protections for tenants and homeowners.
It is unlawful to discriminate in housing based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, source of income, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, family responsibilities, parental status, personal appearance, physical handicap, political affiliations, place of residence or business, or student status. Furthermore, it is generally illegal to refuse to rent to tenants with children by limiting the number of people permitted to live in the apartment. In general, two people must be permitted to live in a studio/efficiency, 3 persons in a one-bedroom, 5 persons in a two bedroom, and 7 persons in a three bedroom.
To stay within the housing code, your landlord is required to provide the following things:
- An environment free of insects, rats, mice, roaches, ants, and bedbugs
- Hot (at least 120 degrees) water
- Working and well-functioning doors. Locks which function from the inside and outside.
- Lighted fire exit signs, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and fire alarms
- Waterproof, level floors free of cracks, holes, splinters, or mouse and rat holes
- Clean, well-lit hallways
- Heat of at least 68 degrees during the day and 65 at night in all occupied rooms
- The landlord-supplied appliances in the kitchen must be functional
- All rooms must be lit
- Paint must not be peeling or flaking, and there can be no exposed lead paint
- Plumbing must not leak. There must be hot and cold running water in the kitchen and bathroom
- Stairs must be in safe condition with railings and good lighting.
If your housing does not meet the above conditions, or your landlord is trying to rip you off or put you out, contact us now. Time is of the essence: if you fail to enforce your rights within the time limits set by law, you will lose them entirely.