The D.C Council is considering legislation, advanced by tenant advocates, that would expand rent control, harm small landlords, and adversely impact the availability of affordable housing. Several rent control bills might become law unless small landlords and property managers take immediate action.

Bill 23-0873: The Rent Stabilization Program Reform and Expansion Amendment Act of 2020, would significantly expand rent control and amend DC law to harm small landlords and adversely impact the availability of affordable housing.  The legislation would among other things: expand rent control to four-unit buildings; expand rent control to all apartment buildings built more than 15 years ago; eliminate voluntary agreements, eliminate vacancy adjustments and severely limit hardship and capital improvement petitions.

The Council is considering several provisions of this bill as stand-alone measures at a hearing on at 12:00 pm on Thursday, September 24, 2020, via Webex.  You can watch it on DC Cable Channel 13 or online here

Specifically, the Council will consider:

Bill 23-878: The Voluntary Agreement Moratorium Agreement Act of 2020: This bill will prohibit all new voluntary agreements for a period of two years. This will significantly impair the ability of housing providers to make necessary improvements to properties in dire need. It will increase Condo conversions by making it impossible to compensate tenants for TOPA rights when buying a rent-controlled property.

Bill 23-879, the Capital Improvement Petition Reform Amendment of 2020: This bill will among other things reduce the cap of a rent increase from 20% to 15%. The bill precludes Capital Improvement petitions from being used for Clean Energy Act requirements. The bill will change the period of amortization (and therefore the amount of increase of a tenant’s rent) of a capital improvement to that of the IRS rules for residential rental property. This replaces the current rule of 96 or 64-month amortization period.

Bill 23-237, the Rent Concession Amendment Act of 2019 – Significantly complicates and reduces the ability of housing providers to offer discounted rent such as “first-month rent is free.”

These measures have real financial consequences. The middle of a pandemic is not the time to experiment with policies that have significant and negative financial impacts on small landlords who are already suffering. This could be the last chance to testify about the adverse impact of rent control on small landlords before the Council votes.

Two-thirds of the apartment buildings subject to rent control have 20 units or less. The DC Council needs to hear from small landlords and property managers. The tenant lobby has professional witnesses who don’t work and make every hearing.  Small landlords are missing from the debate. We need you to do four things:

Send an email today to get on the witness list for the hearing on Thursday, September 24, 2020, to

If you can’t take off work to testify, then submit a written statement to the Council by email at

Email and call your Ward Councilmember and all At-Large Councilmembers and tell them how you are harmed by rent control.

Share this Alert with all small landlords and small property managers that you know.

If you have questions or need additional information please contact me by email or directly at 202-873-9211

Hope to see you Thursday.  Small Landlords Matter!

Dean Hunter