Where We Live

Renting in the District

Photo courtesy of
‘070309 207’
courtesy of ‘dougtone’

If you don’t love your current place of residence you can at least take some comfort in knowing that others are worse off then you. There’s a question on a high-visibility advice site right now that I don’t want to link because I’d hate to draw the wrong attention to the asker. Suffice to say the situation is one where, as a tenant, this person and his or her roommates are dealing with an odd landlord who only wants to accept their over $2000 a month rent in cash and who seems to be running some sort of welfare/child support scam.

Their situation is a little rarefied, but I see other questions there from renters that make it clear there’s a lot of bad information floating around. Let’s try to drop some knowledge here, shall we?

If you take nothing else away from this article, save this link: D.C.’s Office of the Tenant Advocate and this resource: Tenant Survival Guide[pdf].

The OTA is an organization that’s existed in the DC government for about three years now and has been an independent agency for the last two. Their whole reason to exist is to be a resource for you as a tenant. The tenant survival guide was prepared in conjunction with Georgetown University’s Harrison Institute for Public Law, who have the Tenant Survival Guide on their website, just slightly more nicely formatted[pdf]. Between the OTA site and the guide you’ll find everything you need inside or linked from there.

That accomplished, let’s take a few minutes to talk some common myths so you don’t turn a minor problem into a big one. Continue reading