Did you know that all rental units in the District of Columbia are automatically subject to rent control unless they registered as exempt? Under the Rental Housing Act of 1985 and subsequent amendments housing providers (landlords) are responsible to register their rental units with the Rental Accommodations Division (RAD) which administers the Act. If you don’t register your rental unit it is automatically under rent control laws which not only have restrictions on the frequency and amount of rent increases allowed, but also extensive disclosure and filing requirements.

Most small or independent landlords will be able to register as exempt from rent control using one of the more common exemptions permitted:

— Units that are subsidized by federal or DC funds
— Units that are built after 1975
— Units owned by a natural person who does not own more than four rental units in the District of Columbia (LLCs and other business entities cannot claim exemption)
— Units which had been continually vacant since 1985

In order to register your unit with the RAD you need to submit Form 1 – RAD Registration Claim of Exemption Form along with the confirmation letter and receipt provided by the DCRA showing that you have applied for a business license for the rental. There is no electronic or digital process for this. You must visit the RAD office located in Anacostia at 1800 Martin Luther King Avenue SE to submit the paper form.

If you are not able to claim exemption under the Act, we highly advise that you first contact an expert such as a Landlord Tenant attorney or a DC licensed property manager prior to registering your unit. It is very important for you to have the details of the requirements and implications of registering your unit if it is going to be subject to the act. It will also better prepare you for your visit to the RAD.

For information and forms go to www.dhcd.dc.gov/service/rent-control