Legal Information: District of Columbia

Housing Laws

Updated: 
August 31, 2015

Who is protected under this housing law?

There is a housing law in Washington, D.C. that offers housing-related protection to victims of domestic violence.  The law includes protections from eviction and the right to break your lease in certain situations.  It also gives you the right to get safety improvements in your apartment and building.  This law does not include protection for an eviction case brought against you for not paying your rent.

You may be able to get protection if:

  • You are related to the abuser by blood, legal custody, marriage, or domestic partnership; or
  • You have a child in common with the abuser; or
  • You live with or have lived with the abuser; or
  • You have or had a romantic relationship* with the abuser and you currently live in D.C. OR the domestic violence incident happened in D.C.; or
  • You are or were the spouse/partner/boyfriend/girlfriend of someone who has been a victim of domestic violence, you can be protected under this housing law if the abuser does something to you that is causing you to be taken to court by your landlord for eviction (for example, if you are the boyfriend of a victim and her ex-husband attacks you, you could qualify for protection under this law)
  • You are or were stalked by the abuser.**

* Note: A "romantic relationship" does not necessarily have to be a sexual relationship.
** D.C. Code § 16-1001(5)