No landlord can serve a 30-Day Notice on a tenant until at least 60 days after the end of the Public Health Emergency, but Bread for the City is not satisfied.
October 22, 2020 by BFC in Housing Legal Clinic
The DC Council recently passed a few laws that give DC renters new rights. For example, no landlord can serve a 30-Day Notice on a tenant until at least 60 days after the end of the Public Health Emergency. In DC, the 30-Day Notice generally has to come before the filing of an eviction case, so this added protection will give folks a little more time before their landlords begin the process to evict them.
However, Bread for the City is not satisfied now that tenants have a little more time before they get evicted. We need the evictions themselves to cease. In the many lessons we have learned from the pandemic of COVID-19 colliding with the epidemic of racism in America, some glaring truths stand out: All people need housing to be safe. All people need housing to be healthy. All people need housing to thrive.
Halloween will have to be a more low-key event than usual this year. Instead of haunted houses and corn mazes, we have something else to keep us scared: the looming crisis of homelessness and displacement facing our city. A recent report predicts that between 14,000 – 23,000 DC households will be at risk of eviction by January 2021. At this point it seems clear that the pandemic and its economic effects will last long past January 2021, so that number can only grow unless our city’s leaders take bold action soon. Another study estimates that homelessness could rise by 45%.
In DC, we know all too well who will bear the brunt of the trauma of eviction and displacement. The majority of the District’s evictions happen in Wards 7 and 8: the wards with the largest share of Black residents and highest poverty rates in the District, due to decades of disinvestment and deliberate neglect. District leaders must take bold action before it’s too late to invest in a truly equitable recovery from this pandemic.
Here are some common-sense solutions that we support:
- Cancel accrued rent for those experiencing financial hardships so that they aren’t displaced once the District’s eviction moratorium ends
- Vastly increase DC’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) funds to match future need
- Invest in housing that is actually affordable for households earning under 30% of the Area Median Income (about $38,000 for a household of 4 people)
- Vastly expanding investments in permanent vouchers to help residents secure stable housing and avoid further homelessness
- Raising tax revenue to support the needs of DC’s low-income residents
We do not accept the “Wait and See” attitude that several Council members offered during the Summer 2020 budget conversations. We know that the District has the resources to prevent the devastating cycles of displacement, homelessness, and trauma. All we need is the political will.
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