Legal Blog

Federal Workers Housing Relief Emergency Act of 2019

On January 22nd the DC Council unanimously passed emergency legislation entitled the “Federal Worker Housing Relief Emergency Act of 2019”.

This law provides that federal employees, government contractors who rely on the federal government for employment and households that contain federal workers or government contractors may obtain a stay on an eviction action brought against them—or their household—for failure to pay rent. The Landlord Tenant Branch of the District of Columbia Superior Court will be charged with making the determination about whether a stay is appropriate. In order to obtain such a stay, a tenant—or member of the tenant’s household—will need to appear in Court and provide documentation of federal worker or government contractor status. The stay imposed will last the shorter of 90 days from the date of the request for the stay or 30 days from the date of passage of an appropriations bill by Congress. During the stay, if there are other members of the household who are not impacted by the federal government shutdown, those household members are required to continue to timely pay their share of the rent. Late fees imposed (perhaps automatically) on an impacted federal worker or household must be waived.

Offit Kurman attorneys provided advice on this legislation in advance of Tuesday’s vote, and we are pleased that the Apartment and Office Building Association was able to work to have the original bill revised to both permit the filing of suits by landlords and to make the Court the arbiter of whether a stay should be imposed. We believe that these revisions are much more favorable developments for landlords and property managers.

Please note that this new law does not impact your filing of suits, as the stay will be imposed by the Court—if appropriate—at the request of an impacted tenant or household after appearance in Court. We encourage you, in light of the lengthy timelines associated with filing in the District of Columbia to maintain your regular practice with regard to monthly filings. We will continue to monitor this bill and continue to advise you of its impact on your management of properties in the District of Columbia.


Please direct any questions regarding this bill or your property in the District of Columbia to Billy Cannon, 240-507-1771,



ABOUT BILLY CANNON  |  240.507.1771

Billy Cannon is Chair of Offit Kurman’s Landlord Representation Practice Group. He represents property owners and property management companies in the District of Columbia and Maryland in state and federal court litigation, mediations, and administrative agency hearings and also assists with leasing, transactions and Fair Housing Act compliance. Mr. Cannon is certified in Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Compliance (LIHTC) and represents many LIHTC properties and other affordable housing providers. Additionally, Mr. Cannon represents sellers and purchasers in transactions, with a particular emphasis on the District of Columbia Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA). Mr. Cannon handles TOPA compliance and litigation, as well as other litigation arising out of the purchase and sale of real property. Mr. Cannon also handles appellate matters for property owners and property management companies.








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