DC Council Hearing Addresses Evictions Changes, Permanent Solutions

Headlines ,

On Sept. 24, Councilmember Anita Bonds, Chairperson of the Committee on Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization, held a public hearing on the "Eviction with Dignity Act of 2018." While you may wonder why the Council is focused on evictions again, note that the “Eviction Procedure Reform Emergency Amendment Act of 2018” legislation, passed by the Council before its recess, was only a temporary measure. Originally passed in 2007 but never funded, this measure establishes guidelines for the storage and removal of evicted tenants’ property and directs housing providers to store the belongings of an evicted tenant in the vacated unit for 10 days, after which the housing provider may remove those belongings. 

As the Council pivots from the emergency legislation to considering a permanent bill, we recognize that tenant advocates will continue to fight for off-site storage options for all tenants -- at the housing provider’s expense. Additionally, these advocates will request a longer storage period to give tenants more opportunity to identify a place to move their possessions. Finally, they will suggest a longer pre-eviction notice period so tenants have time to go through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program application process.

There’s never an ideal situation to evict a tenant, but the Council’s emergency legislation strikes the right balance. It enhances the notifications provided to tenants concerning their eviction, along with providing them with information on how to access emergency rental assistance and legal guidance. It also reduced the additional financial losses that housing providers would incur with packing, transporting and storing tenants’ property.

Questions?  Please contact Kirsten Wiliams.