If you have a dispute with a landlord that you cannot resolve, you can file an official complaint with the Housing Regulation Administration. When you call, be sure to have as much information as possible about your landlord and the building, including names of the owners, addresses and telephone numbers. Also, be sure to let the HRA know where they can reach you during the day. A staff member has three days to contact you to schedule an inspection if they can`t find you, your case may be closed. The HRA says inspections are normally conducted within five working days after they contact you, or seven working days if the complaint is about the exterior of the building. In scheduling inspections, the HRA gives priority to interior inspections in occupied housing.
Both the D.C. Housing Code and the Rental Housing Act of 1985 explicitly prevent landlords from taking retaliatory action against tenants who complain about housing violations. Retaliatory action includes attempts by a landlord to take back the apartment in violation of housing laws, reducing the quantity or quality of services provided, unlawfully increasing rent, harassing, threatening, coercing, or violating the privacy of the tenant, or refusing to honor any or all of a lease agreement.
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