From Jim Graham’s office
This is a good time for tenant rights! As you know, all but one of my colleagues joined me last Tuesday in support of the first major strengthening of rent control in decades. Now, we need to hear from you.
Please mark your calendars for an important hearing on tenant rights issues to be held on Wednesday, October 26 at 10 a.m. in the Council Chamber at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. The hearing will be televised life at that time. The Committee on Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, which I chair, will hear testimony on five bills.
One of these is the Rental Control Reform Amendment Act of 2005, which has the support of 12 Councilmembers. This bill would abolish two provisions in the current law — the “vacancy” provisions — that have caused rent ceilings to escalate far beyond what is reasonable or rational. It replaces those provisions with a vacancy formula that is fair to both landlords and tenants. Upon a vacancy, the landlord could raise the rent ceiling by 1% for every year since the last vacancy.
The bill would also limit the amount of any adjustment in rent charged on an occupied unit to 10% of the current rent charged. Finally, instead of the biannual rent increases now allowed, landlords could only increase the rent once per year.
We will also consider the Right of Tenants to Organize Amendment Act of 2005, which spells out the basic right of tenants and tenant associations to organize without interference from landlords.
Two other bills would give tenants access to much more information about how rent increases are calculated. Finally, the Committee will consider legislation to allow a hearing examiner to consider a tenant’s challenges to rent increases taken before the Act’s 3-year statute of limitations period, so long as any damage award is limited to that 3-year period.
Your testimony is needed. Please call John Adams at 724-8198 if you wish to testify.
Bests, Councilmember Jim Graham
I typically answer emails before 9 AM on weekdays. If you email me after that, it is likely that you will hear from me the next weekday. If there is a need to communicate prior to that, you may wish to call me.
Jim Graham, Councilmember, Ward One, 1350 Pa. Ave., NW, #105,
Washington, DC 20004. 202-724-8181; 202-724-8109 (fax).
Chairman, Committee on Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. Main Committee
Number: 202-724-8198. 1350 Pa. Ave., NW, #112, Washington, DC 20004.