The D.C. Council approved on Tuesday legislation sponsored by Councilmember Anita Bonds that ensures permanent due process protections for District renters.
The bill, “Eviction Record Sealing Authority and Fair Tenant Screening Amendment Act of 2021” contains provisions such as requiring housing providers to give written notice of legal proceedings to tenants in all nonpayment of rent cases and mandates court eviction records of all cases that are resolved in favor of the housing provider must be sealed after three years. The law builds on 2020 and 2021 emergency legislation, “Fairness in Renting” that was based on a temporary basis recognizing a probable increase in eviction proceedings during the coronavirus pandemic.
Also, the law reflects the culmination of a process started in 2018 with Bonds’ introduction of the original “Eviction Record Sealing Authority Amendment Act of 2018.”
Bonds, who chairs the Committee on Housing and Executive Administration, expressed pride in her colleagues’ actions.
“I am proud of the council today,” Bonds said. “This legislation is necessary to ensure that tenants receive the due process that they are entitled to when faced with eviction proceedings; and, perhaps more importantly, that we don’t create a whole new class of disenfranchised residents who bear a scarlet letter—simply because an eviction case was filed against them. Housing in the District is fundamental, and an individual trapped in poverty or temporarily hampered by missing bill payments should not be denied a second or third chance to receive housing due to their previous financial hardship.”