Though the majority of Legal Aid’s housing work is representing individual tenants in litigation or administrative proceedings, our housing unit’s work extends far beyond that. Legal Aid works in the community – presenting Know Your Rights events, collaborating with community-based organizations, and representing tenants’ associations. We have long known DC tenant communities are strong. We know tenant associations that stand up to unscrupulous landlords, tenants that vocalize the need for tenant protections, and tenants that band together to exercise their rights under TOPA, or the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act.
Legal Aid continues to support and empower tenants and their communities. Therefore, Legal Aid is proud to publish the Tenant Empowerment Toolkit. This toolkit provides information and resources to tenants in DC so that they can effectively and confidently exercise their housing rights. In this toolkit, tenants will find an overview of basic landlord-tenant law in DC, what to do when a tenant has housing code violations, how and why tenants may want to organize a tenants’ association, and when to contact a lawyer.
Tenants will continue to need legal representation. This toolkit is not a substitute for that. But knowledge is power, and we hope these materials, which will be updated and expanded, will continue to empower tenants to seek their rights as provided by law.