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How to Evict a Tenant in D.C.

In Washington D.C., landlords must follow specific procedures in order to evict a tenant. The first step is to provide the tenant with written notice of the reason for the eviction. This notice must be served on the tenant in person or by mail. However, mail is not the preferred method of service and personal service is prefferred by courts in D.C. If the tenant does not remedy the situation (such as by paying overdue rent) within the time specified in the notice, the landlord can then file an eviction lawsuit with the court.

D.C. recognizes specific grounds for eviction such as:

  • Nonpayment of rent;

  • Violation of an obligation of tenancy, of which the tenant failed to correct after notice;

  • Tenant performed an illegal act within the rental unit;

  • Landlord seeks in good faith to occupy the rental unit for personal use and occupancy;

  • Landlord sells rental unit to a party who seeks in good faith to occupy the rental unit for personal use and occupancy;

  • Landlord seeks to renovate rental unit in a manner in which tenant cannot safely occupy;

  • Landlord seeks to demolish rental unit;

  • Landlord seeks to substantially rehabilitate rental unit;

  • Landlord seeks to discontinue rental unit for housing and occupancy; or

  • Landlord seeks to convert rental unit to a condominium or cooperative after securing governmental approval.

Judicial process is required for all evictions. Furthermore, in all cases other than non-payment of rent, a filing with the Rental Accommodations Division (RAD) is required. A tenant may not be evicted just because the initial lease term expires, or because the rental property has been foreclosed upon. In summary in order to evict a tenant, the landlord must go through the judicial process. The tenant must be given:

  • A written Notice to Vacate

  • An opportunity to cure the lease violation, if that is the basis for the action; and

  • An opportunity to challenge the landlord’s claims in court.

If you are a landlord or a tenant and have questions related to evictions in D.C., schedule a consult by contacting our office at (202) 499-2403 or 1(833) CALLJKW (225-5559).

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