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Legal Statutes: District of Columbia

UPDATED April 11, 2017

District of Columbia Statutes

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Part C. Housing and Commercial Space.

back to top§ 2-1402.21 Prohibitions.

(a) General. -- It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice to do any of the following acts, wholly or partially for a discriminatory reason based on the actual or perceived: race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, familial status, family responsibilities, disability, matriculation, political affiliation, source of income, status as a victim of an intrafamily offense, or place of residence or business of any individual:

(1) To interrupt or terminate, or refuse or fail to initiate or conduct any transaction in real property; or to require different terms for such transaction; or to represent falsely that an interest in real property is not available for transaction;

(2) To include in the terms or conditions of a transaction in real property, any clause, condition or restriction;

(3) To appraise a property, refuse to lend money, guarantee a loan, purchase a loan, accept residential real property as security for a loan, accept a deed of trust or mortgage, or otherwise refuse to make funds available for the purchase, acquisition, construction, alteration, rehabilitation, repair or maintenance of real property; or impose different conditions on such financing; or refuse to provide title or other insurance relating to the ownership or use of any interest in real property;

(4) To refuse or restrict facilities, services, repairs or improvements for a tenant or lessee;

(5) To make, print, or publish, or cause to be made, printed, or published any notice, statement, or advertisement, with respect to a transaction, or proposed transaction, in real property, or financing relating thereto, which notice, statement, or advertisement unlawfully indicates or attempts unlawfully to indicate any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, familial status, family responsibilities, disability, matriculation, political affiliation, source of income, or place of residence or business, of any individual;

(6) To discriminate in any financial transaction involving real property, on account of the location of residence or business (i.e. to “red-line”); or

(7) To limit access to, or membership or participation in any multiple-listing service, real estate brokers' organization or other service, organization, or facility relating to the business of selling or renting residential real estate, or to discriminate against any person in terms or conditions of access, membership or participation in any organization, service or facility.

(b) Subterfuge. -- It shall further be an unlawful discriminatory practice to do any of the above said acts for any reason that would not have been asserted but for, wholly or partially, a discriminatory reason based on the actual or perceived: race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, familial status, family responsibilities, disability, matriculation, political affiliation, source of income, status as victim of an intrafamily offense, or place of residence or business of any individual.

(c) Families with children. -- (1) It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice to do any of the acts prohibited in subsections (a) and (b) of this section wholly or partially based on the fact that a person has one or more children who reside with that person.

(2) There shall be a rebuttable presumption that an unlawful discriminatory practice has occurred if the person alleging discrimination has 1 or more children who reside with that person and any of the acts prohibited by subsections (a) and (b) of this section are done to maintain residential occupancies more restrictive than the following:

(A) In an efficiency apartment, 2 persons; or

(B) In an apartment with one or more bedrooms, 2 times the number of bedrooms plus one.

(3) Nothing contained in this chapter limits the applicability of any District or federal restriction regarding the maximum number of occupants permitted to occupy a dwelling. Nothing in this chapter regarding familial status applies to housing for older persons.

(4) For the purposes of this subsection “housing for older persons” means a premises which:

(A) The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determines pursuant to a federal program, is specifically designed and operated to assist older persons;

(B) Is intended for, and solely occupied by persons 62 years of age or older; or

(C) Is intended and operated for occupancy by persons 55 years of age or older, provided that at least 80% of the occupied units are occupied by at least one person who is 55 years of age or older, and the housing facility or community publishes and adheres to policies and procedures that demonstrate the intent required pursuant to this paragraph, and complies with rules issued by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for verification of occupancy.

(d) Disability. -- (1) It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice in the sale or rental of real estate to deny a dwelling to a buyer or renter or to otherwise make a dwelling unavailable to a buyer or renter because of a disability of:

(A) That buyer or renter; or

(B) Any person residing in or intending to reside in that dwelling after it is sold, rented or made available; or any person associated with that buyer or renter.

(2) It shall be unlawful to discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling or in the provision of services or facilities in connection with the dwelling because of a disability of:

(A) That buyer or renter; or

(B) Any person residing in or intending to reside in that dwelling after it is sold, rented or made available; or any person associated with that buyer or renter.

(3) For purposes of this subsection, “unlawful discrimination” includes:

(A) A refusal to permit, at the expense of the person with the disability, reasonable modifications of existing premises occupied or to be occupied by the person if the modification may be necessary to afford the person full enjoyment of the premises of a dwelling. A landlord, where it is reasonable, may condition permission for a modification on the renter agreeing to restore the interior of the premises to the condition that existed before the modification, reasonable wear and tear excepted;

(B) A refusal to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when these accommodations may be necessary to afford any person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling;

(C) In connection with the design and construction of covered multifamily dwellings for first occupancy after April 20, 1999, a failure to design and construct these dwellings in a manner that:

(i) The public and common use portions of the dwellings are readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities; and

(ii) Doors designed to allow passage into and within all premises within the dwellings are sufficiently wide to allow passage by persons with wheelchairs;

(D) All premises within the dwellings shall contain the following features of adaptive design:

(i) An accessible route into and through the dwelling;

(ii) Light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats, and other environmental controls in accessible locations;

(iii) Reinforcements in bathroom walls to allow later installations of grab bars;

(iv) Usable kitchens and bathrooms so that an individual in a wheelchair can maneuver about the space; and

(v) The premises within the dwellings shall have at least 1 building entrance on an accessible route unless it is impracticable because of the terrain or unusual characteristics of the site.

(4) Compliance with the appropriate requirements of the American National Standard for buildings and facilities providing accessibility and usability for persons with disabilities suffices to satisfy the requirements of paragraph (3) of this subsection.

(5) Nothing in this subsection requires that a dwelling be made available to an individual whose tenancy would constitute a direct threat to the health or safety of other individuals or whose tenancy would result in substantial physical damage to the property of others.

(e) The monetary assistance provided to an owner of a housing accommodation under section 8 of the United States Housing Act of 1937, approved August 22, 1974 (88 Stat. 662; 42 U.S.C. § 1437f), either directly or through a tenant, shall be considered a source of income under this section.

(f) Victims of intrafamily offenses --

(1) For purposes of this subsection, the term “record” means documentation produced by a law enforcement officer, as defined in § 4-1301.02(14), or a court order pursuant to § 16-1005.

(2) It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice to do any of the acts prohibited in subsections (a) and (b) of this section wholly or partially based on the fact that a person residing, or intending to reside, in the dwelling is, has a record of being, a victim of an intrafamily offense, as defined in § 16-1001(8).

(3) It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice to do any of the following additional acts, for purposes of this subsection, wholly or partially based on the fact that a person residing, or intending to reside, in the dwelling is, or has a record of being, a victim of an intrafamily offense, as defined in § 16-1001(8):

(A) Refusing to make a reasonable accommodation in restoring or improving security and safety measures beyond the housing provider's duty of ordinary care and diligence, the costs of which the housing provide may charge to the tenant, when an accommodation is necessary to ensure the person's security and safety;

(B) Refusing to permit a person to terminate the lease of the premises early, without penalty, upon notice to the landlord and upon a showing that the person is a victim of an intrafamily offense, pursuant to § 42-3505.07;

(C)(i) Barring or limiting the right of a person to call for police or emergency assistance, which right, for purposes of this subsection, shall not be waivable; or

(ii) Imposing any penalty for calling police or emergency assistance.
(Dec. 13, 1977, D.C. Law 2-38, title II, § 221, 24 DCR 6038; July 26, 1980, D.C. Law 3-80, § 2, 27 DCR 2554; June 28, 1994, D.C. Law 10-129, § 2(d), 41 DCR 2583; Apr. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 12-242, § 2(d), 46 DCR 952; Oct. 1, 2002, D.C. Law 14-189, § 2(c), 49 DCR 6523; Apr. 13, 2005, D.C. Law 15-354, § 8(a), 52 DCR 2638; Mar. 8, 2006, D.C. Law 16-58, § 2(d), 53 DCR 14; Mar. 14, 2007, D.C. Law 16-273, § 3(c), 54 DCR 859; Apr. 24, 2007, D.C. Law 16-305, § 11, 53 DCR 6198; Mar. 25, 2009, D.C. Law 17-368, § 4(a)(2), 56 DCR 1338.)