DC Council passes emergency bill to cap rent increases for stabilized rent housing over next 2 years

Those who live in rent-stabilized housing in D.C. won’t see more than a 6% increase starting July 1. This decision comes after the D.C. Council passed an emergency bill Tuesday to address inflation and high rent issues that many city leaders say are a massive cause for concern.

Because rent increase caps for stabilized-rent housing in D.C. are determined based on inflation, soaring numbers led the cap to reach its highest ever level this year, igniting a debate among lawmakers about how far to reduce that limit.

A provision in the bill states that rent cannot be increased more than 12% for those in stabilized rent housing for the next two years. Senior citizens will see even more protection, with the cap being 8% over the same two-year time span, or 4% each year.

“All of us want rent to be as low as possible,” said At-large DC Councilman Robert White, who spearheaded the legislative rent control effort.

He said the new bill could save many from hardship and poverty, which would cost the District more in the end.

“If we allow rent increases to continue at the existing high rates over the next two years, residents will face evictions and homelessness,” White said. “In the long run, we could end up with less affordable housing and less investment in the District with increased prices.”

The bill is seen as a compromise among city leaders, some of whom wanted even more protections and less price increases to protect renters.

On the other side, property owners talked about how the rent moratorium from the COVID-19 pandemic meant they couldn’t raise rents for at least two years, highlighting their own financial struggles. The whole back-and-forth caused a fiery debate among city leaders earlier this month and back in May during budget talks.

The bottom line, White said, is that something needed to be done to prevent prices from getting out on control.

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Matt Kaufax

If there's an off-the-beaten-path type of attraction, person, or phenomenon in the DC area that you think more people should know about, Matt is your guy. As the features reporter for WTOP, he's always on the hunt for stories that provide a unique local flavor—a slice of life if you will.

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