Legal Update

Mar 27, 2020

District of Columbia COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020: What it Means for Real Estate

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Seyfarth Synopsis: Mayor Muriel Bowser (the “Mayor”) declared a Public Health Emergency in the District of Columbia pursuant to the District of Columbia Public Emergency Act of 1980 on March 11, 2020 and such declaration is currently in effect until April 24, 2020 (although this date may change). The Mayor then officially signed D.C. Act 23-247, the COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (the “Act”), which took effect on March 17, 2020 (but applies retroactively as of March 11, 2020) and will expire on June 15, 2020. Among other things covered in the Act, the Mayor addressed a number of concerns currently afflicting the real estate community.


  • The legal summons required to be sent to a tenant (residential or commercial) requesting the Tenant appear in court to demonstrate why the tenant should not be evicted must be served seven (7) days before the date set for trial, with such seven (7) days now being exclusive of Sundays, legal holidays and such period of time that the Mayor has declared a Public Health Emergency.
  • No housing provider may evict a tenant during the period that a Public Health Emergency is in effect.

Restaurant Delivery

A restaurant or tavern that registers with the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (the “Board”) may offer for sale beer, wine and spirits in closed containers to persons for carry-out or deliver the same to the homes of District of Columbia residents so long as such carry-out or delivery order is accompanied by prepared food. While Board approval is not required, a restaurant must receive written authorization from the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration prior to beginning such carry-out or delivery sales.

Hotel Property Tax

  • The Chief Financial Officer may waive any penalties and abate interest related to the payment of the first installment of real property taxes to be paid on or before March 31, 2020 so long as such installments are paid by June 30, 2020. The Chief Financial Officer, through the Office of Tax and Revenue, will provide guidance on what constitutes a hotel or motel.
  • The Chief Financial Officer may waive any penalties and abate interest that may be imposed for failure to timely pay any taxes due pursuant to Chapter 20 (Gross Sales Tax) and Chapter 22 (Compensating Use Tax) for periods ending February 29, 2020 and March 31, 2020 so long as all such taxes for such periods are paid in full on or before July 20, 2020. This provision does not apply to hotels or motels permitted to defer the payment of taxes pursuant to the immediately preceding paragraph.

Corporate Filings

There will be no fee for delivering the first biennial report, required to be filed by any entity or limited liability partnership registered in the District of Columbia, including foreign registered entities, for 2020 so long as the same is delivered to the Mayor by June 1, 2020.

License and Registration Extensions

Notwithstanding any law in effect during, or within 45 days after the end of, a declared Public Health Emergency, the Mayor may (a) extend (prospectively or retroactively) the validity of a license, registration, permit or other authorization, to include professional licenses, registrations and certifications, or (b) waive the deadlines, fees, fines and penalties associated with the failure to timely renew such license, registration or permit or failure to timely submit a filing.

Residential Tenant Rights

  • All deadlines for tenant or tenant organizations to exercise any rights under The Rental Housing Conversion and Sale Act of 1980 or The Rental Housing Act of 1985 are extended for thirty (30) days following the end of the Public Health Emergency.
  • A housing provider cannot impose a late fee on a tenant during any month in which a Public Health Emergency has been declared.

As we receive any updates or clarifications on any real estate related provision of the Act, this memorandum will be updated.