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Rent-Payment Plans for Commercial Tenants

Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Rent-Payment Plans for Commercial Tenants

 

Pursuant to D.C. Code Section 42-3192.01, commercial landlords in the District of Columbia shall offer a rent-payment plan to eligible tenants during the time for which the Mayor has declared a public health emergency, and for one year thereafter.

In order to be considered an eligible commercial tenant, the tenant must have notified their landlord of their inability to pay all or a portion of the rent due as a result of the public health emergency, and not be a franchisee, unless the franchise is owned by a District resident. The commercial tenant must also either be leasing commercial retail space, or any commercial space that is less than 6,500 square feet in size and comprises all or part of a commercial building. Once a payment plan is accepted, tenants must make payments in equal monthly installments for the duration of the payment plan unless a different schedule is agreed, but the tenant can pay more than the monthly amount if they desire.

If a commercial tenant’s rent-payment plan application is denied, the tenant may file a written complaint with DCRA. This can be done by filling out our online intake form, or by emailing dcra@dc.gov.

Commercial Landlord Responsibilities

  • A landlord shall offer a rent-payment program to eligible tenants.
    • This payment plan should be good for, at minimum, one year unless a shorter payment plan is requested by the tenant.
    • The landlord must waive any fee, interest, or penalty for a tenant entering into this plan.
    • The landlord cannot report to a credit agency that tenant was delinquent on their rent subject to the plan.
    • As long as the plan is agreed upon and followed through, the tenant does not forgo any rights under the lease due to default.
    • All tenants should be informed of the option for this payment plan and process, and the application process for it.
  • A landlord cannot require or request a tenant to provide a lump-sum payment under the plan.
  • A landlord must keep records of the application from the tenant for at least three (3) years. These records are to be made available to DCRA upon request.
  • A landlord cannot file any collection lawsuit or eviction of non-payment of rent, as long as the tenant follows the agreed payment plan.
  • A landlord shall utilize existing procedures or, if necessary, establish new procedures to provide a process by which an eligible tenant may apply for a payment plan, which may include requiring the tenant to submit supporting documentation. A landlord shall permit an application for a payment plan to occur online and by telephone.
  • A landlord shall approve each application for a payment plan submitted during a covered time period in which the eligible tenant demonstrates evidence of a financial hardship resulting directly or indirectly from the public health emergency.

For further details, please refer to D.C. Code Section 42-3192.01.