Washington D.C. Lease Agreements | Residential & Commercial

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A Washington D.C. lease agreement is a contract between a landlord and tenant for the renting of property in the District of Columbia. A lease may be used for residential or commercial purposes. After a prospective tenant has shown interest in a property, the landlord will verify their employment and, after coming to a verbal agreement, will draft and sign an agreement.

Rental Application – May be used by a landlord to conduct a credit check and verify the tenant.

Agreement Types (6)


Commercial Lease Agreement – May be used for any non-residential use (retail, office, industrial, etc.).

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Month-to-Month Lease Agreement – Short-term rental arrangement that can be terminated by the landlord or tenant with thirty (30) days’ notice.

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Rent-to-Own Lease Agreement – A standard lease with the option for the tenant to buy the property under predetermined conditions.

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Room Rental (Roommate) Agreement – To rent bedrooms in a living unit with shared common areas such as the kitchen, living room, bathrooms, etc.

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Standard Residential Lease Agreement – Most common agreement that allows a landlord and tenant to create a fixed lease.

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Sublease Agreement – For a tenant seeking to re-rent the same space they occupy to a subtenant. Usually requires a consent form from the landlord in order to sublet.

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Required Disclosures (5)

All disclosures must be given to a prospective tenant before applying for tenancy.

District of Columbia Tenant Bill of Rights (§ 42–3502.22(b)(1)(L))- Handout that is given to the tenant.

Receipts (§ 14-306) – Each time the tenant pays the landlord, a receipt must be required. A security deposit receipt or rent receipt may be used except in the case when the tenant pays by personal check, then no receipt is necessary.

RAD Form 3 (§ 42–3502.22(b)(1)) – Provided by the Rent Administrator and must be completed in its entirety and given to the tenant.

RAD Form 5 (§ 42–3502.22(b)(2)(C)) – Informs the tenant that the collection of disclosure forms must always be available for inspection.

Voter Registration Packet (§ 42–3502.22(b)(1)(1B) – The landlord must provide the tenant with the most up-to-date voter registration form provided by the Board of Elections.

Security Deposits

Maximum (§ 14-308.2) – A landlord may charge up to one (1) month’s rent.

Returning (§ 14-309.1) – The landlord has forty-five (45) days to either:

  • Return the deposit in-full to the tenant; or
  • If there are withholdings or deductions at the end of the lease, must inform the tenant of the withholding amount.
    • (§ 14-309.2) After notification of withholding, the landlord must send the remaining deposit amount to the tenant within thirty (30) days. In addition, the tenant must be given an itemized list of damages (if any).

When is Rent Due? (grace periods)

The tenant has a five (5) day grace period to pay rent after the day it’s due. During the grace period, the tenant cannot be charged a late fee or sent an eviction notice.

Maximum Fees

Late Rent (§ 42–3505.31(a)) – The landlord may not charge more than five percent (5%) of the past due rent amount.

Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF Checks) – No statute.

Right to Enter (Landlord)

The landlord must give at least 48 hours’ notice before entering the property of the tenant.

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