Tenants’ Rights: Tips for Reporting Problems with A Landlord or Housing Conditions

Tenant Rights

District residents deserve safe, habitable housing and to be treated fairly by their landlords. That’s why OAG is using the law to protect tenants’ rights, hold abusive landlords accountable, and preserve affordable housing.

This week, OAG announced a settlement with Park 7 Apartments that will return over $450,000 to hundreds of tenants wrongfully billed for water. Despite lease agreements that stated the cost of water was included in rent, the landlord improperly charged residents for water, many of whom are low-income, senior citizens, or people with disabilities. Last week, OAG secured its largest-ever rent recovery settlement—$1.1 million—for 155 tenants in Wards 5, 7, and 8 who were forced to live for years in uninhabitable conditions, including mold, vermin infestations, and fire code violations. These actions are just the latest efforts by OAG to stand up to protect tenants.

Below are tips for how to report issues with your landlord or building management and your rights as a tenant.

How to Report Unlawful Actions by Landlords
If you believe your landlord is not abiding by your lease agreement, wrongly withholding a security deposit, collecting illegal late fees or attorney’s fees, improperly raising your rent, or deceiving you in any way, report it to our Office of Consumer Protection at:

How to Report Unsafe Living Conditions
If you believe your landlord is not making needed repairs or your health and safety are in danger, you can request an inspection from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs at:

If there are other tenants in your building who have problems in their units or if there are problems that affect the whole building (such as roof leaks, sewage backups, or vermin infestation), you can request a property-wide inspection from DCRA. You can also report property-wide issues to OAG at (202) 727-3400 or oag@dc.gov.

How to Report Housing Discrimination
If District residents experience housing discrimination—like landlords not accepting housing vouchers—they can report it to:

District residents can also learn more about their protections under D.C.’s Human Rights Act and how OAG is working to stop illegal discrimination by browsing OAG’s Civil Rights Brochure.

Help for Tenants
Tenants can also learn more about their rights and how OAG can help by browsing our free resources at oag.dc.gov/tenantrights.

If you are in a dispute with your landlord and need resources, including legal representation, you can contact the D.C. Office of the Tenant Advocate at (202) 719-6560.