Considerations for landlords in D.C. when increasing rent

On Behalf of | Sep 30, 2023 | Real Estate Law

Landlords in Washington, D.C., should approach the task of increasing rent with careful consideration and adherence to legal requirements. Doing this helps maintain a harmonious landlord-tenant relationship.

Of course, it is possible that despite a landlord’s best efforts, tenants will take the news of a rent increase badly.


In Washington, D.C., the median gross rent in 2021 stood at $1,681. Many rents have gone up since then, and timing plays an important role when landlords contemplate a rent increase. They should be aware of the lease agreement’s terms and conditions. Typically, rent increases are permissible when a lease is about to expire or during lease renewal negotiations.

Landlords should provide tenants with sufficient notice regarding the rent increase, usually 30 days before the effective date. Early communication allows tenants to adjust their budgets and plan accordingly, reducing the likelihood of disputes.

Legal requirements

Landlords must adhere to the city’s rent control laws. These laws vary depending on the type of property and its location within the city. Some areas may have rent control ordinances that limit the amount and frequency of rent increases. Landlords should research and understand the specific regulations that apply to their properties.

Lack of discrimination

Rent increases must not be discriminatory. It is unlawful to raise rent based on factors such as race, gender, religion or disability. Such practices can lead to serious legal consequences. Landlords must ensure that any rent increase applies uniformly to all tenants, regardless of their background.


Effective communication with tenants is key to avoiding disputes when increasing rent. Landlords should provide written notice to tenants, clearly stating the new rental amount, the effective date of the increase and any additional terms or conditions. They should send this notice via certified mail or deliver it in person, ensuring that tenants receive it in a timely manner.

Landlords should be ready to address tenant concerns and questions regarding the rent increase. Open and respectful communication can help tenants understand the reasons behind the increase and potentially ease their concerns.