This Thursday, the D.C. Council's Committee for Housing will hold a Housing Public hearing on B25-0049, the "Local Rent Supplement Program Eligibility Amendment Act of 2023," which was introduced by Chairman Mendelson, and Councilmember Pinto. The Committee will also discuss B25-0227, the Rent Stabilization Protection Amendment Act of 2023, introduced by Councilmembers Frumin, Allen, Bonds, Henderson, Lewis George, Nadeau, Parker, Pinto, and Chairman Mendelson. These rental housing proposals should interest renters in D.C. since, based on a recent U.S. Census Bureau data analysis by RentCafe, most residents in the District of Columbia are renters, making up 54.7% of the population, while homeowners are 45.3%. If enacted, both of these bills would make sweeping changes to the rental housing market in the District.
B25-0049 would amend the District of Columbia Housing Authority Act of 1999 and, among other things, would allow housing voucher applicants to self-certify and declare their eligibility without requiring the extensive documentation process applicants have to navigate currently. This bill also prohibits inquiries into applicants' immigration status or criminal history to determine eligibility, admission, or continued occupancy in one's rental housing. In addition, this proposed law would establish that eligibility for residency in a rental unit supported by grants be limited to households with incomes at or below 30% of the area median income.
There is an emphasis in the bill on maintaining consistency in rental housing program rules. The bill stresses that rules regarding eligibility, admission, and continuing occupancy for tenants receiving different voucher assistance are in line with proposed amendments. Neither the amendments nor the law should conflict with existing program rules.
The Committee for Housing will also discuss B25-0227, which would amend the Rental Housing Act of 1985 and the District of Columbia Housing Authority Act of 1999. Under the proposed legislation, the District of Columbia Housing Authority must follow rent stabilization regulations when calculating the rent subsidy provided to housing providers.
Additionally, B25-0227 stipulates that housing accommodations, including federally- or District-owned properties, units with federal or District subsidies, and units rented by home and community-based services waiver providers occupied by tenants with disabilities, would be excluded from particular provisions and sections concerning rent stabilization. Though if a tenant leases a unit after this law goes into effect, the total amount of rent paid by the tenant and the Housing Authority should not exceed a specific limit. When the Housing Authority determines the total rent for a housing unit, B25-0227 would mandate that they ensure the rent is at most what would be paid for the same unit in the private market.
If interested in testifying at the Housing Public Hearing, which will occur on Zoom, you can sign up to submit testimony. Register online or contact the committee at (202) 727-8270. Anyone testifying must provide their name, contact information, organizational affiliation, title (if applicable), and personal pronouns before today's close of business (5:30 pm). Though witnesses are encouraged to submit their written testimony electronically in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org, it is not required. The committee will contact witnesses with additional instructions on providing their testimony before the hearing.
If you want to follow the hearing live, you can do so on the Council's official website, on the Office of Cable Television, Film, Music, and Entertainment (OCTFME) site, or on local television channels 13 or 18.
Bill text of B25-0049, the "Local Rent Supplement Program Eligibility Amendment Act of 2023"
Bill text of the Rent Stabilization Protection Amendment Act of 2023