Washington DC landlords require tenants to pay a
security deposit when they move in. In DC a landlord cannot charge you
more than one month's rent as a security deposit, and it can only be
collected once. The landlord must give you, in writing, the terms of your security
deposit. Keep your copy, and be sure to get a receipt. These may be
included in your lease.
In the District of Columbia, the
landlord must put your security deposit into an account that earns
passbook interest for a year. This interest must be given to you when you
move if you have lived in the unit at least 12 months. Within 45 days
after you move out, the landlord must either return all your security
deposit plus interest or notify you in writing that all or part of the
deposit will be used to cover expenses. The landlord must send you an
itemized list of any repairs or expenses that are taken out of the
security deposit. After the first notification, the landlord must return
the balance of your deposit, if any, within 30 days. If the landlord
charges you fees, refer
to Normal and Tear.
Tenant Screening, Landlords should
our online Tenant Screening
Service for Washington, DC.
To assure the return of your
security deposit (plus interest if applicable), you should take the
The District of Columbia Housing Code (DCHC) is enforced by the D.C.
Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Housing Regulation
DCRA publishes the "Tenant's Guide to Safe and Decent
Housing." This 30-page booklet summarizes the Rental Housing Act of
1985, and Chapter 14 of the DC Municipal Regulations (DCMR), which cover
the city's laws and regulations for rent-controlled apartments.
The booklet is available in both English and Spanish. To obtain a copy,
visit the Housing Regulation Customer Service Center in Room 7100 at 941
North Capitol Street, NE, Washington, D.C., 20002, telephone (202)
442-4610, or send the office a large self-addressed, stamped envelope to
receive the guide by mail.
The guide is also available on the DCRA web site at www.dcra.dc.gov on
the "Housing Regulation" page under rent control