HOW WE STARTED
Our campaign began as an outgrowth of an active tenants association in the Van Ness neighborhood of Washington D.C.
Dozens of tenants were complaining that their landlord was demanding exceptionally large rent increases. They found that the company used false advertising to lure in new tenants and tricking them into signing leases with absurdly high amounts listed as the "rent charged," e.g., $3,500 for a one-bedroom apartment, as opposed to the "rent paid" or $2,200 monthly rent in reality. In the District, after the initial lease term expires, you have the right to continue your tenancy month-to-month indefinitely on the same terms. However, after the first year, these residents were compelled to sign new leases to secure even close to fair market rent paid or else pay up to $1,500 more each month.
A group of active members of the tenant association filed a Freedom of Information Act request and found out that our landlord had been systematically conducting the scam for as over a decade - and also discovered evidence that some other corporate landlords in community were doing the same thing. We realized that if the practice was widespread, it may have cost tens of thousands of DC residents tens of millions of dollars.
If we were to take on this battle, we would need to organize tenants in other buildings and across the city. That's where Fair Rent DC comes in.
NEXT: What we do