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Updated June 27, 2022

A Washington D.C. lease agreement is a contract between a landlord and tenant for the renting of property in the District of Columbia. A lease may be used for residential or commercial purposes. After a prospective tenant has shown interest in a property, the landlord will verify their employment and, after coming to a verbal agreement, will draft and sign an agreement.

Rental Application – May be used by a landlord to conduct a credit check and verify the tenant.

Table of Contents

Agreement Types (6)

Commercial Lease Agreement – May be used for any non-residential use (retail, office, industrial, etc.).

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Month-to-Month Lease Agreement – Short-term rental arrangement that can be terminated by the landlord or tenant with thirty (30) days’ notice.

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Rent-to-Own Lease Agreement – A standard lease with the option for the tenant to buy the property under predetermined conditions.

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Room Rental (Roommate) Agreement – To rent bedrooms in a living unit with shared common areas such as the kitchen, living room, bathrooms, etc.

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Standard Residential Lease Agreement – Most common agreement that allows a landlord and tenant to create a fixed lease.

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Sublease Agreement – For a tenant seeking to re-rent the same space they occupy to a subtenant. Usually requires a consent form from the landlord in order to sublet.

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Required Disclosures (5)

All disclosures must be given to a prospective tenant before applying for tenancy.

District of Columbia Tenant Bill of Rights ( § 42–3502.22(b)(1)(L) )- Handout that is given to the tenant.

Receipts ( § 14-306 ) – Each time the tenant pays the landlord, a receipt must be required. A security deposit receipt or rent receipt may be used except in the case when the tenant pays by personal check, then no receipt is necessary.

RAD Form 3 ( § 42–3502.22(b)(1) ) – Provided by the Rent Administrator and must be completed in its entirety and given to the tenant.

RAD Form 5 ( § 42–3502.22(b)(2)(C) ) – Informs the tenant that the collection of disclosure forms must always be available for inspection.

Voter Registration Packet ( § 42–3502.22(b)(1)(1B) – The landlord must provide the tenant with the most up-to-date voter registration form provided by the Board of Elections.

Security Deposits

Maximum ( § 14-308.2 ) – A landlord may charge up to one (1) month’s rent .

Returning ( § 14-309.1 ) – The landlord has forty-five (45) days to either:

  • Return the deposit in-full to the tenant; or
  • If there are withholdings or deductions at the end of the lease, must inform the tenant of the withholding amount.
    • ( § 14-309.2 ) After notification of withholding, the landlord must send the remaining deposit amount to the tenant within thirty (30) days . In addition, the tenant must be given an itemized list of damages (if any).

When is Rent Due? (grace periods)

The tenant has a five (5) day grace period to pay rent after the day it’s due. During the grace period, the tenant cannot be charged a late fee or sent an eviction notice.

Maximum Fees

Late Rent ( § 42–3505.31(a) ) – The landlord may not charge more than five percent (5%) of the past due rent amount.

Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF Checks) – No statute.

Right to Enter (Landlord)

The landlord must give at least 48 hours’ notice before entering the property of the tenant.

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