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Legal Information: District of Columbia

Restraining Orders

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October 29, 2020

Now that I have the protection order, can I get my landlord to change my locks?

Possibly.  Any victim of a criminal domestic violence incident can make a request in writing that the landlord change the locks (without providing proof of the incident) as long as the abuser does not live with you.  If the abuser is a tenant in your apartment, along with the written request, you need to provide the landlord with a copy of the protection order, which must state that the abuser has to stay away from you, any other household member, or the apartment.  The landlord must change the locks to all entrance doors to your apartment within 5 business days of your request.1  

The landlord will pay the initial cost of changing the locks, but you have to reimburse the landlord within 45 days of him/her providing you with proof of the cost.  You might also have to pay whatever additional fee the building normally charges tenants to change locks.2

Note: To understand what relationships qualify as “domestic violence” for the purposes of this law, read Who is protected under this housing law?

1 D.C. Code § 42-3505.08(a)
2 D.C. Code § 42-3505.08(b)