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Free Washington DC Residential Lease Agreement

Create a residential lease agreement that meets all the requirements necessary in Washington DC State. Start today with the help of step-by-step instructions and our contract generator.

Last Update November 29th, 2022

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What Is a Lease Agreement in Washington DC

A Washington DC lease agreement is used to establish the terms and conditions that a landlord and tenant must follow in regard to a rental property. It is written in a way that complies with the laws of the state in which the property is located. 

Lease agreements are similar to rental agreements as they are both legally binding contracts that define the terms of use and payment plans for a property. However, a lease agreement typically covers long-term leases while a rental agreement deals with short-term tenancies.

The following information should be included in a Washington DC lease agreement. 

  • Period of time in which the tenant can occupy the property

  • Amount of rent that should be paid

  • Details about security deposits 

  • Frequency of rental payments

  • Information about additional costs 

  • Usage terms of the property 

  • Eviction terms and procedures

Types of Washington DC Lease Agreements

There are many types of Washington DC lease agreement forms that can be used to manage and legally bind many different types of rental situations. They allow landlords to rent out various types of property they might have and for tenants to find the best kind of tenancy for their needs.

The most common types of lease agreements in Washington DC include:

  • Residential lease agreements: Both the landlord and tenant commit to a fixed set of terms for a set period of time. 

  • Rent-to-own lease agreements: Designed for tenants that wish to buy the property they are renting during or after the lease has ended. This typically requires the tenants to pay an additional sum of money each month, to cover the principal costs.

  • Month-to-month rental agreements: The same general terms as a standard residential lease contract, but they can be renewed, altered, or ended on a month-by-month basis.  

  • Commercial lease agreements: Provided by landlords of retail property to tenants that will use the real estate to manage a business.

  • Room rental agreements: Used for rooms within properties that have shared living areas. 

  • Sublease agreement: Allows tenants to assign or lease the property to another individual as long as they have the property landlord’s permission.

Disclosures for Washington DC Lease Agreements

Washington DC leases must provide a few informational disclosures to renters beforethey are completed and signed. This is to properly inform the tenant of any health risks or potential issues with the property, or details about how the property is managed that they must be aware of. 

These essential additional disclosures include the following: 

  • District of Columbia Bill of Rights: Tenants must be given a copy of the District of Columbia Bill of Rights to view before they sign (§ 42–3502.22(b)(1)(L)).  

  • Lead paint disclosure: If the rental unit is in a building constructed before 1978, the landlord or their agent must disclose whether lead paint can be found on the property and must provide safety information for any located on the premises. 

  • Receipts: Tenants must be given a receipt for any cash payment made to the landlord (§ 14-306). This can include rental payments and security deposits given to the property owner or their agent. This particular rule is exempted if the tenant pays by personal check. 

  • RAD Form 3: This form provided by the Rent Administrator must be completed fully by the landlord or their agent and given to the prospective tenant (§ 42–3502.22(b)(1)). This provides informational disclosures on a number of different elements of the condition and safety of the property and the lease agreement terms. 

  • RAD Form 5: This form informs the tenant that disclosure forms and documents for the rental unit are accessible and available for inspection at any time (§ 42–3502.22(b)(2)(C)).

  • Voter Registration Packet: Landlords must give tenants the latest voter registration forms provided by the Board of Elections (§ 42–3502.22(b)(1)(1B).

Washington DC Lease Agreement Laws

For aWashington DC lease agreement to be legally binding and valid, it must be written according to the laws of DC. If this is not done properly, the contract will be legally contestable and could be declared invalid when put under scrutiny. These rules will also determine what kind of procedures and terms you may ask the tenant to abide by.

The overview below includes the most important laws to consider when renting a property in Washington DC:

Law Specifics
Rental grace period Tenants have a period of up to 5 days after missing a rental payment before their landlord can charge a late fee or serve an eviction notice § 42–3505.31(b)(2).
Maximum security deposit The maximum security deposit that can be charged in Washington DC, is 1 month’s rent (§ 14-308.2).
Returning the security deposit The security deposit amount must be given back to the tenant within 45 days after they vacate the property and return the keys (§ 14-309.1).

If any deductions will be taken from the security deposit, the tenant must be informed of these in advance of its return. If notification of withholding the deposit is provided the remaining amount must be returned within 30 days of the notice being given (§ 14-309.2).

Landlord’s right to enter 48 hours’ advance notice must be given by landlords before entering the rental property (§ 8–231.06(a)).

Washington DC Residential Lease Agreement Sample

Looking over a completed Washington DC lease agreement sample is a good place to start when you’re planning to create your own document. Use our template example below to understand the information that goes into this form and to learn more about what your document can do. 

Other Real Estate Documents

Besides lease agreements, there are various other legal documents that are commonly used by landlords. If you are the owner of a rental property, one of the following forms may be helpful for you: 

FAQs About Washington DC Lease Agreement

It is important to carefully prepare a Washington DC lease agreement to suit the needs of the landlord and tenant exactly. To help demystify the process a little, simply review our FAQs below to learn more about the specificities of rental contracts in Washington DC.

How to Get a Lease Agreement in Washington DC?

It is possible to create a Washington DC lease agreement completely online. Using our residential lease agreement maker you can tailor your document for your specific needs and take advantage of professional templates and expert tips.

How to Write a DC Lease Termination Letter?

If either the landlord or tenant needs to terminate a Washington DC lease agreement early for any reason, they must provide the correct amount of notice in a written DC lease termination letter.

This letter needs to contain the following information:

  • The name of the landlord and the tenant

  • The date the letter has been written and signed

  • The name and address of the property in question

  • Information explaining why the tenancy needs to be terminated early

  • The reason the lease is being broken

  • The date that the resident will vacate the property

  • Acknowledgment of any penalties that will be incurred

  • Signature of the signing party

Do I Need to Notarize my Washington DC Residential Lease Agreement?

It is not necessary to notarize a Washington DC residential lease agreement. However, whilst this might not be a legal requirement in DC, signees are still advised to consider this step to provide further legal enforceability.

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