The mission of the Office of the Tenant Advocate (OTA) is to provide technical advice and other legal services to tenants regarding disputes with landlords; to educate and inform the tenant community about tenant rights and rental housing matters; to advocate for the rights and interests of District renters in the legislative, regulatory, and judicial contexts; and to provide financial assistance to displaced tenants for certain emergency housing and tenant relocation expenses.
Summary of Services
OTA provides a range of services to the tenant community to further each aspect of its mission. The agency:
- Advises tenants on resolving disputes with landlords, identifies legal issues and the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords, and provides legal and technical assistance for further action such as filing tenant petitions;
- Provides in-house representation for tenants in certain cases and refers other cases to pro bono or contracted legal service providers and attorneys;
- Works with other governmental and non-governmental officials and entities, including the District Council, the Mayor’s office, executive agencies, the courts, tenant stakeholders, advocates, and others, to promote better tenant protection laws and policies in the District;
- Conducts educational seminars in a variety of contexts to inform tenants about their rights and other rental housing concerns; and
- Provides financial assistance for certain emergency housing and relocation expenses to tenants displaced by fires, floods, and governmental property closures.