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.

GavelFinal Orders

Final Orders involving this agency issued by admininstrative law judges since September 2017 can be found [here]. Final Orders are uploaded regularly.

Sample Decisions

Sample Decisions

Administrative law judges issue a written decision for every case that is contested. The decisions below are examples of some issues raised in Office of Administrative Hearings’ cases involving this agency. You can review these decisions to get a sense of how prior cases were decided.

Please note that the facts of each case are different. These cases should be used for informational purposes only.

  • Sokol v. 636 Cooperative Assoc., June 12, 2012 (dismissing tenant petition filed by a member of a cooperative association, not subject to the Rental Housing Act)
  • Martin v. Gaskins, April 24, 2012 (finding housing provider violated Rental Housing Act by not properly registering property, by failing to file correct rent increase forms and charging rent that exceeded the legally-calculated amount; tenant entitled to refund; no fine imposed on housing provider who was not found to have acted willfully)
  • Fainbarg v. Boyse, March 20, 2012 ( dismissing tenant petition because housing provider entitled to small landlord exemption from the Rental Housing Act)
  • Dyes v. Peabody & Theoharris Mgmt., March 13, 2012 (claims subject to a prior judgment in the Superior Court Landlord and Tenant Branch involving the same issues and same parties could not be brought again in the Office of Administrative Hearings)
  • Mazzer v. B.F. Saul Prop. Co., September 30, 2010 (dismissing claims in tenants’ petition alleging housing provider failed to file proper rent increase forms, filed improper rent ceilings, and substantially reduced services or facilities)

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.