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Legal Information: District of Columbia

Housing Laws

Laws current as of April 5, 2024

My landlord is trying to evict me because of a domestic violence incident in my apartment. What are my rights?

You can be protected from eviction if:

  • you or your minor child is the victim of domestic violence, known as an intra-family offense; and
  • the judge determines that the domestic violence is the reason for the eviction case against you.1

If you got a temporary or permanent order of protection that removes the abuser from the home as a result of this domestic violence incident, the judge should not evict you.2 If you filed for an order of protection based on this incident and asked that the abuser be removed from the home, but the judge didn’t grant you the order or you filed a police report based on the incident within the past 60 days, the judge has the option (discretion) to not evict you.3

Note: In this section, even though the domestic violence incident must be an act that is punishable as a crime, the abuser does not necessarily have to be arrested for it in order for you to be protected under this law. Also, you could be protected if you are being taken to court for things the abuser did to your apartment during a domestic violence incident. For example, if the abuser kicks in the door or punches a hole in the wall, and the landlord is trying to evict you due to this damage to your apartment, you could be protected from eviction. If the landlord is taking you to court because s/he got complaints from your neighbors about noise caused by the abuser screaming at you, this law may protect you.

1 D.C. Code § 42-3505.01(c-1)(1)
2 D.C. Code § 42-3505.01(c-1)(2)
3 D.C. Code § 42-3505.01(c-1)(3)

I tried to rent / buy property and I was turned down because I am a domestic violence victim. Is this legal?

It is illegal for anyone to discriminate against you due to the fact that you are a current or former domestic violence victim. The following are some examples of the actions that are illegal:

  • interrupting, terminating, or refusing to start or continue any real estate transaction;
  • requiring different terms, conditions or restrictions for a real estate transaction;
  • falsely representing that a house or apartment is not available;
  • refusing to lend money, guarantee a loan, provide title insurance, etc. or to place different conditions on you when doing these actions;
  • refusing or restricting services, facilities, repairs or improvements for a tenant.1

1 D.C. Code § 2-1402.21(a)