A 5 per cent increase in rents would be permitted in the District of Columbia under a tentative rent control measure drafted by D.C. City Council aides, city officials said yesterday.
Most rent boosts, under the plan, would be less than the increases allowed in an earlier Council bill. The controversial proposal - shelved by the Council last July - would have permitted city rent rises of 3 to 15 per cent, depending on the extent to which utilities costs were included in a tenant's rent.
The newly drafted bill would extend rent controls in the city for two years. Existing controls are set to expire Oct. 31. Rent controls generally, impose a ceiling on increases in city tenant's rents.
An aide to Council member Nadine Winter (D-six), who heads the Council's housing committee, described the newly drafted measured yesterday as a "staff working document." Winter has not yet endorsed the tentative proposal, the aide said.
The suggested 5 per cent rent increase drew immediate criticism from a representaitve of the city's landloards. "Five per cent is grossly inadequate," Raymond Howar, a landloard's representative on the D.C. Rental Accommodations Commission, said. Today, rents are abou 20 per cent below where they should be to give (landlords) a full pass-through of (increased utilities, maintenance and other operating) costs."
Marie Nahikian, a tenant's representative on the commission, also criticized the proposed 5 per cent increase. "Some buildings don't deserve even a 5 per cent increase, whereas some buildings may deserve more," she said. Instead of an across-the-board rent boost, she said, rent rises should be permitted on a case-by-case basis.