Rental Housing FAQ
In general, you need your landlord’s permission to break your lease early. Usually your landlord can still make you pay rent for the rest of your lease term, unless the landlord is able to find a new tenant. But most tenants who are renting month-to-month can leave after giving a 30-day notice. If you have questions about whether you are a month-to-month tenant, please call us at 202-628-1161 for advice and/or to apply for help with your case.
If your landlord sends you a notice saying you owe rent or a letter saying you need to move, or if your landlord sues you for not paying your rent, you do not have to move out right away. You have options. Under D.C. law, if you are sued for not paying your rent, then you have the right to stay in your home by paying what you owe before you are evicted. You may also have defenses to the case that could reduce how much you owe. You should contact us at 202-628-1161 for more information or to apply for help with your case.
If your landlord says you have not paid your rent, your landlord can begin the process to evict you now. Your landlord must serve you with a 30-day notice of past due rent before filing an eviction case against you for nonpayment of rent. The notice should tell you the amount that you owe in rent and give you information about emergency rental assistance and free legal services. Your rental ledger should also be attached to the notice.
If your landlord says you broke some other part of your lease (for example, by having a pet or bothering your neighbors). Your landlord must send you a 30-day notice before filing an eviction case against you. A 30-day notice about a lease violation will explain what the landlord says you have done wrong and how you can fix it. Your landlord must give you at least 30 days to fix whatever they say the problem is. If the landlord thinks you did not fix the problem after 30 days, the landlord can file an eviction case against you.
If you receive a notice from your landlord and want to know if it is legal, you can call us at 202-628-1161 for more information or to apply for help.
Your landlord has the right to enter your home for a “reasonable purpose,” at a “reasonable time,” with at least 48 hours’ notice.
Your landlord is always required to maintain your home in compliance with housing regulations. Once notified of a repair need, they must make repairs within a reasonable time.
If your landlord does not make these repairs, you can contact DOB to do an inspection. You can request an inspection online by filling out this form. You also can call 202-671-3500.
You should report any change in your income right away. You should report the change to DCHA or your landlord, whoever normally does your recertifications:
Housing Choice Voucher Program: You can call DCHA’s main number at 202-535-1000 to report your income loss.
Public Housing: You can call your property management office and find out what process they are following to complete interim recertifications.
Site-Based Section 8: Contact your property management office and find out what process they are following to complete interim recertifications.
If you have questions about this, or if you do not have access to email, you are welcome to call us at 202-628-1161.
Yes. If your rent is based on your income and your income has gone up, DCHA or your landlord can process a recertification and adjust your rent.
Yes, DCHA can begin the process to evict you. That means that DCHA can send you a 30-day notice of past due rent.
If you received a Recommendation for Termination for your Housing Choice Voucher Program voucher, you should tell DCHA right away that you want to have a hearing to dispute that termination. You should put your request in writing and keep a copy for your records. You should also contact us to see if we can help with this issue. Call us at 202-628-1161 or fill out an online intake.