Office of Administrative Hearings

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Department of Housing and Community Development

The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), Rental Accommodations Division administers the Rental Housing Act of 1985.  Some parts of the Act apply to all rental housing units; some portions, such as the rent control portions, apply only to some of the rental housing units in the District of Columbia.  Both tenants and housing providers (landlords) may file with the DHCD Rent Administrator petitions which are then heard and decided by the Office of Administrative Hearings.  Issues include disputes concerning certain rental housing properties; tenant petitions concerning rent increases, housing code violations and other complaints; and housing provider petitions concerning changing services and facilities or increasing rents based on capital improvements, substantial rehabilitation or hardship.

There is an Office of the Tenant Advocate available to assist tenants and tenant associations and an Office of the Housing Provider Ombudsman, available to assist smaller housing providers, with a variety of issues.

Final Orders issued by the Office of Administrative Hearings in rental housing cases may be appealed to the Rental Housing Commission, an independent quasi-judicial body.

Agency LawAgency Law

Administrative law judges base their decisions upon many sources of law, chief among them the District of Columbia laws (DC Official Code) and the District of Columbia regulations (DCMR). Depending on the type of case, federal law (US Code) and federal regulations (CFR) may also be relevant. Cases decided on the issues in other courts, especially the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, are relevant.