Let’s take a conservative example:

  • After a lot of negotiation your landlord forces you to accept a rent increase that is $50 per month more than the legal limit. This adds up to $600 over the first year.
  • We'll assume that the same thing happens next year: The landlord forces you to pay a rent increase that is $50 more than legal limit. You'll be overpaying $100 per month -- $50 because of last year's bad deal and $50 because of this year's bad deal. This costs you $1,200 over the next year. 
  • The same thing happens the following year. This adds another $50 more per month. Now you’re paying $150 more per month than you would be paying if the rent increases had not exceeded the legal limits. This costs you $1,800 over the next year.
  • At the end of third year, you will have overpaid by a total of $3,600.

This is a conservative example – you could end up paying a lot more. If you don’t know your rights, you may not even know that you’ve been cheated. Now, imagine the combined figures on a scale of tens of thousands of DC residents... Now, you're getting the picture.

NEXT: Why it works