Legislative Update: Eviction Record Sealing Authority Amendment Act of 2021 vote in DC Council today
Today B24-0096, the Eviction Record Sealing Authority Amendment Act of 2021, had first reading and vote in the DC Council. If enacted, the Superior Court of the District of Columbia would have the ability to seal eviction records in certain circumstances. Last year the Council passed an emergency bill granting the Court to seal eviction record B24-0096 would make those powers permanent.
This legislation would allow the Court to seal eviction records after 30 days, when the Court either could not find the landlord or if the landlord withdrew their claim. It would also allow the Court to seal all other eviction records after three years and authorize the Court to seal certain eviction records upon motion by the defendant. B24-0096 would also amend DC's Human Rights Act of 1977 to prohibit landlords from taking adverse action against a potential tenant for having a sealed eviction record. It would also prohibit landlords from requiring a prospective tenant to disclose a sealed eviction record as a condition of obtaining housing.
In her letter of support, during her introduction of B24-0096, Councilmember Cheh noted that:
"Eviction records can cause real, lasting harm to tenants. Landlords may charge tenants with eviction records higher rent or a larger security deposit; in many instances, landlords will refuse to rent to a tenant with an eviction record. This harm is particularly acute for low-income residents and those who have experienced homelessness. In fact, housing-vulnerable residents report that eviction records are one of the primary barriers they face in finding safe and affordable housing. The harms caused by these records may also exacerbate the financial difficulties that resulted in the tenant being evicted from a prior residence—including financial harms stemming from the public health emergency."
This bill was co-sponsored by Councilmember Allen. Once the final vote tally is released, CLPA will report the results.