What if you didn't consult an attorney before you signed a lease with a tenant? What if you decided to write sometime up yourself or you got a lease that looked ok but now doesn't seem to cover much of anything? DC law is hard on landlords who make a mistake with leases in the beginning of a tenancy. So what are your options?
You can't force the tenant to sign a new lease in DC. Even when the term of the old lease is up. Unfair? Yes. But I can't change that for you. So let's talk about what you can do. You and the tenant can agree to sign a new lease. Why would a tenant do that? Usually because there's something in it for her too. If the tenant wants to add another roommate or be allowed to keep their pet ferret and the old lease says no, perhaps they would be willing to renegotiate. Or perhaps you've sent them a notice that the rent is going up and they would like to negotiate a smaller increase. The tenant may object to another year lease because they don't want to stay a year but nothing stops you from signing a new month to month lease.
Be creative. Negotiate with your tenant. But be certain this time you get the lease you want. That might mean talking to a lawyer or doing a lot of reading. Read my article on Four Things Every DC Landlord Should Have in a Residential Lease for some pointers. Either way, don't get stuck with another lease that isn't everything you need it to be.
One more thing. Make sure you business license and rent control exemption or registration are in order. If not you could have the best lease in the world. You won't be able to enforce most of it.
It's been a good month in DC if you are a landlord with a live writ of eviction for your tenant. The Marshal's Office is caught up on the backlog of evictions and writs are being executed extremely quickly. That's great news for cases where eviction is inevitable but if the landlord is hoping to be paid this fast moving process can prevent landlords from getting money they might have gotten if the process had taken a little longer. Landlords have to decide if waiting is a good risk.
Unfortunately because winter is coming fast the eviction process can slow to a crawl any day so putting off an eviction is a huge risk. No residential evictions can be done in DC if there is a 50% or greater chance of precipitation is forecasted or if weather forecast calls for temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit over the next 24. That means when we get into late fall and winter evictions will stop except for the occasional warm clear day. That will create a backlog and landlords can wait for months to evict a tenant.
For now, when you file your writ make sure you are ready with your eviction crew because when the Marshal's Office to say you are scheduled for the following day, you can take advantage of the good weather.