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Changes to DC Landlord & Tenant Court Coming in 2016

There are changes coming to the District of Columbia Landlord and Tenant Court. Not changes to the law, changes in the way court days will be scheduled. If you are a landlord who has previously filed cases don’t let these changes surprise you. You may know that DC L&T runs and “overflow” courtroom upstairs from the main courtroom in B-53. Currently, cases are sent to that courtroom throughout the day as needed to clear backlogs in the main courtroom. If you’ve been to Landlord & Tenant Court in the past couple years you might say “wow that’s not working.” It turns out the judges and clerks agree, so they are making additional changes to the system. In early 2016 the following changes will be implemented: 

Cases will be divided by type and courtroom at the beginning of the day. In Courtroom B-109, the traditional L&T courtroom across from the clerk’s office, Initial Hearings, cases coming to court for the first time, and Further Initial Hearings, cases coming to court for the second time, usually because something happened the first time that had to be resolved before this hearing, will continue to take place at 9 a.m., after roll call. At 10 a.m. more Further Initial Hearings and Status Hearings will take place. At 11 a.m. Trial Status hearings will take place. A trial status usually just establishes that all the parties for a trial have arrived at court, how many witnesses are going to appear for each side, and if mediation needs to take place. The actual trial will take place later in the day. 

In Courtroom B-53, one floor up from the clerk’s office, cases will also start at 9 a.m. This is a big change. Motions, Hearings on Applications to Terminate Stay, Hearings on Notices of Intent to Seek a Writ of Restitution will all be heard in that courtroom at 9 a.m.  You do not need to go downstairs for roll call or to hear the opening speech first. In fact if you did you could miss your hearing. At 10 a.m. Ex Parte Proof Hearings, Evidentiary Hearings, Bell Hearings, and Accountings will be heard in B-53.  

Landlord and Tenant court can be chaotic and confusing. Knowing where you need to be and at what time can mean the difference between success and having to refile your case. If you are filing something and you aren’t sure what courtroom you need to go to or what time you need to arrive make sure you ask the filing clerk to clarify for you. If you need additional help and would like an attorney to represent you in court or you would just like to discuss your options, contact us

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