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New D.C. bill plans to 'put the brakes' on annual rent increases for 80K units

Anita Bonds proposed the sweeping rent control legislation earlier this week

On Tuesday, Councilmember Anita Bonds, chairperson of the Housing and Community Development Committee, introduced new legislation that could maintain affordability for nearly 80,000 residential units under rent control. The bill, titled the "Rental Housing Affordability Stabilization Amendment Act of 2016," plans to amend the Rental Housing Act of 1985 in two key ways: by removing the 2 percent increase that comes along with the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W) and by eliminating 10 to 30 percent vacancy increases.

In the bill’s introduction, it describes Washington, D.C.’s affordability crisis, saying, "Despite 30 plus years of rent control, housing costs in the District are the third highest in the country." A summary of the report adds that 46 percent of renters in the District spend between 30 to 50 percent of their income on rent, while approximately 23 percent pay more than 50 percent of their income on rent. The bill plans to "put the brakes" on the cost of rent control units in order to alleviate the affordability crisis.

On where the majority of these units are located, a little over 13,000 units are located in Ward 1. Ward 3 has the second most amount of rent controlled units, totaling approximately 12,800, while Ward 2 has the third, housing roughly 12,300 units.