Summer is nearly over. What You Need to Know about Getting Security Deposit Back.

Before you move into your new apartment for the next school, you undoubtedly want to get that security deposit back as quickly as possible from your last place. So what are the rules landlords and you need to follow?

Under DC law, landlords have up to 45 days from the date the lease ended to either return the security deposit or provide an itemized list of repairs/deductions that were made from the deposit. Having trouble getting your money back? Show them the law. And we’re pasting it below. Notice that if landlords do not make a “good faith” effort and fail to meet the regulation’s timeline, you are entitled to the entire security deposit back. DCRA doesn’t handle disputes between landlords and tenants on security deposit issues, but if you are having problems you should immediately contact the Office of the Tenant Advocate and let them know. They can help.


309.1 Within forty-five (45) days after the termination of the tenancy, the owner shall do one of the following:
(a) Tender payment to the tenant, without demand, any security deposit and any similar payment paid by the tenant as a condition of tenancy in addition to the stipulated rent, and any interest due the tenant on that deposit or payment as provided in § 311; or
(b) Notify the tenant in writing, to be delivered to the tenant personally or by certified mail at the tenant’s last known address, of the owner’s intention to withhold and apply the monies toward defraying the cost of expenses properly incurred under the terms and conditions of the security deposit agreement.

309.2 The owner, within thirty (30) days after notification to the tenant pursuant to the requirement of § 309.1(b), shall tender a refund of the balance of the deposit or payment, including interest not used to defray such expenses, and at the same time give the tenant an itemized statement of the repairs and other uses to which the monies were applied and the cost of each repair or other use.

309.3 Failure by the owner to comply with § 309.1 and § 309.2 of this section shall constitute prima facie evidence that the tenant is entitled to full return, including interest as provided in § 311, of any deposit or other payment made by the tenant as security for performance of his or her obligations or as a condition of tenancy, in addition to the stipulated rent.

309.4 Failure by the owner to serve the tenant personally or by certified mail, after good faith effort to do so, shall not constitute a failure by the owner to comply with § 309.1 and

309.5 Any housing provider violating the provisions of this chapter by failing to return a security deposit rightfully owed to a tenant in accordance with the requirements of this chapter shall be liable for the amount of the deposit withheld, or in the event of bad faith, for treble that amount.

309.6 For the purposes of § 309.5, the term “bad faith” means any frivolous or unfounded refusal to return a security deposit, as required by law, that is motivated by a fraudulent, deceptive, misleading, dishonest, or unreasonably self-serving purpose and not by simple negligence, bad judgement, or an honest belief in the course of action taken.

DCRA Launches New Site, New Apps (and it’ll help students find safer housing)

DCRA launched a brand new website yesterday and, so far, it’s getting rave reviews.

We’re still adding stuff and cleaning up some links, but it’s a good start.

But the reason for this post is to highlight our new PIVS application, which will allow you to search for whether or not your property is properly licensed, if it has a Certificate of Occupancy, what housing code violations have been issued and what permits and inspections have been done. The database goes back about 6-7 years, but will be a big help for folks.

So go to and look for the PIVS icon right at the top under featured services. And let us know what you think. And take a look around the site.

Burleith Resident Creates Blog to Chronicle ‘Drunken’ Student Behavior

For the past two years, we’ve been working hard to get students to learn about building safety, to inspect their own homes, request city inspections and make sure they are renting from licensed landlords. We managed to get several hundred student properties inspected and as many new licenses have been issued. We are getting calls from students, parents and even professors about safety issues for of-campus student housing. While DCRA is not responsible regulating for student behavior – other than building safety issues – we do want to encourage all students to take as much responsibility for their actions as they have so far through our campaign. Try to be good neighbors. Try to clean up after yourselves. We’ve been so impressed with the initiative students have taken to make sure their off-campus housing is safe.

One Burleith resident has created a new blog to chronicle his experience living in the Georgetown area. What do you think of his effort? Let us know your thoughts. Will this work?

DCRA Heading To Howard University Tuesday for Off-Campus Housing Fair

Howard students, we’ll be on campus tomorrow morning and can answer any questions you may have about housing codes, help you find out if your landlord is licensed and any other questions you may have. Please stop by our booth. Where you live can be one of the most important decisions you make. Please be safe and learn what you need to ask your potential landlord before signing that lease.

Students: Campus Firewatch Coming to Capitol Hill, Needs Volunteers to tell Senators, Congressman Importance

Campus Firewatch, the leading national organization dedicated to campus/off-campus fire safety education, is coming to Capitol Hill on March 23, 2010 and is looking for volunteers to join them in talking to Senate and House offices about the importance of fire safety for the nation’s millions of college students. If you’re a student, parent, resident or just someone who is passionate about fire safety issues, please consider joining this important effort. Visit their site for more information and to sign up. There is no cost and it is a wonderful opportunity. From their site:

Since 2000, at least 136 people have died in campus-related fires. Here is a chance for students, parents, fire officials and fire safety advocates to make a difference for campus fire safety by working with Congress.

For the past 2 years we have been traveling to Capitol Hill and meeting with Members of Congress and their staff to discuss campus fire safety issues. As a result, the Campus Fire Safety Right-to-Know became law, proclamations have been passed in the U.S. House and Senate designating September as National Campus Fire Safety Month, the College Fire Prevention Act passed the House in 2008 and other important pieces of legislation have been introduced.

Be a part of this vital effort to make campuses safer across the nation by joining in this important project in Washington, DC. It is only one day…but what a day it is. See what other students, parents and fire safety advocates had to say about the 2009 trip by clicking on the video above or click here to learn more – or, are you ready to be a part and make a difference?

You can learn more about this projectsign up on our contact list or get in touch with us if you have any specific questions. mentioned in GW Hatchet

There is a nice mention of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs’ (DCRA) in the GW Hatchet online today.

From the story:

Another sticking point is getting to know the landlord to make sure he or she is legally allowed to rent space. To this end, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has launched the Collegiate Off-Campus Housing Initiative, designed to protect students from unlicensed landlords.

As part of its campaign, the department provides a registry of all licensed landlords in the District, accessible at In addition, the Web site allows tenants to request a housing inspection and free smoke detectors through the District’s Smoke Alarm Utilization and Verification Program.
– Mike Rupert

Georgetown Students Rallying to Keep Sidewalks Clear and Accessible

More than 100 Georgetown students signed up to help clear sidewalks around campus to make sure it remains accessible through a rally that began a few minutes ago. From their Facebook event announcement today:

“It’s clear that Facilities has been doing its best to keep up with the snow, but as totals mount, accessibility to all buildings has suffered. Wheelchair and alternative access routes have been conspicuously bad. With many differently-abled Hoyas here on campus, we have a responsibility to ensure that ALL Hoyas can get to their classes, residence halls, and facilities.”

Some alternatives being offered if students don’t have shovels:
– Old Leo’s trays (I’m sure some of you have them)
– Rakes
– Forks, knives, spoons (good for breaking up ice)
– Table salt

Anyone else hearing of other schools or neighborhoods getting organized liked this? Let us know in comments or tweets us @dcra

Heading to American University’s Off-Campus Housing Fair Tonight

The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) is heading out in a few minutes to the American University Off-Campus Housing Fair at the University Club, Mary Graydon Center on the Main Campus. Come see us and ask any questions you have. Shana and Cecilia will be at our booth. If you want to schedule an inspection, swing by and talk to them in person. Or shoot an email to and we’ll get it scheduled right away. Hope to see you there. We’ll be doing some live Tweeting as well so shoot us some questions.

posted by Mike Rupert