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Rental Housing Commission Providing Better Public Information: Coalition Inquiry Gets Results

dcogcadmin | April 25, 2016

The D.C. Rental Housing Commission, a three-member body that sets rent ceilings, writes necessary regulations and hears appeals of decisions on rent complaints, in recent weeks has begun operating in greater sunshine.

The commission, independent in its work but administered within the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), for years published little online information about its activity, including when its meetings would be held, minutes afterwards, or details of hearings. 

Inquirers, in the 21st Century, were directed to a posting worthy of Abe Lincoln’s days as a young attorney in Springfield, Illinois —  “check the signboard outside the office.”

Prodded by a Coalition inquiry, the commission chair, D.C. attorney Peter Szegedy-Maszak, forwarded their attorney’s statement of plans to improve some web materials immediately and more in the longer term including meeting materials, hearing records and decisions. 

In summary, the chair noted the group “is committed to assuring its full compliance with its responsibilities under the Open Meetings Act.”

Tenants with rent complaints in the District already face a dizzying maze of procedures and cases can take a long time with hearings at various levels to figure out if a landlord broke complex laws governing rent increases.

With these improvements under way and promised, at least the process may be a bit less murky.

The Coalition inquiry to the DHCD and the responses of the chair and attorney are attached below.  Commission information is available on its page of the DHCD site.