In DC winter is a very hard time to be a landlord. Why?
1) Evicting a Difficult Tenant Becomes Impossible: DC does not perform evictions when the weather is too cold, snowing, or raining. That is a lot of November through February. Does that mean landlords should put off suing non-paying or problem tenants until spring? Just the opposite. Getting your problem tenant on the list for eviction is more important than ever this time of year. Evictions are performed in the order tenants are put on the list. If your tenant isn't on that list until early spring you will have to wait until the backlog of evictions from winter are done.
2) Landlords Have Additional Responsibiloties Under the Housing Code: Landlords must have their heating system inspected and serviced every fall. Get it done. If your heating system has problems during the winter, fix it. Right away. Judges and inspectors treat heat issues as an emergency so you should too. The temperature must be maintained at 68 degrees during the day and 65 degrees at night.
3) Failure to Remove Snow and Ice Will Get You a Fine: Even if your lease says your tenant is responsible for snow and ice removal in a single family home, the city will still send the fine to you, the homeowner, if it isn't done. So save yourself time and hassle and pay a service to clear snow and ice instead of depending on the tenant. If you own a multi-unit building you are always responsible so make sure it gets done ASAP. A tenant who falls on an ice sidewalk is bad news.
Contact us if you are a landlord in need of legal advice this winter.