Code of the District of Columbia

§ 42–3503.04. Tenant assistance payments.

(a) Basic formula. —

(1) The amount of the tenant assistance payment shall be the amount by which the actual rent or fair market rent applicable to the family, whichever is lower, exceeds 30% of the family’s monthly income. Where the head of household is an elderly tenant or tenant with a disability, the amount of the tenant assistance payment shall be the amount by which the actual rent or fair market rent, whichever is lower, exceeds 25% of the family’s monthly income. Monthly income is 1/12 of annual adjusted income. Annual income is the anticipated total income from all sources received by the family head and spouse, even if temporarily absent, and by each additional member of the family, including all net income derived from assets, for the 12-month period following the effective date of the Department’s initial determination or reexamination of income, exclusive of income that is temporary, nonrecurring, or sporadic such as irregular gifts, scholarships, inheritances, insurance payments, and capital gains. Annual income is also exclusive of income from employment of children, including foster children, under the age of 18 years; payments received for the care of foster children; the value of the allotment provided to an eligible household for coupons under the Food Stamp Act of 1977 (7 U.S.C. §§ 2011-2030); and payments or allowances made under the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Act of 1981 (42 U.S.C. 8621 et seq.), and the District of Columbia Low Income Energy Assistance Program.

(2) Annual income includes, but is not limited to:

(A) The full amount, before any payroll deductions, of wages and salaries, overtime pay, commissions, fees, tips and bonuses, and other compensation for personal services;

(B) The net income from operation of a business or profession (for this purpose, expenditures for business expansion or amortization of capital indebtedness and an allowance for depreciation of capital assets shall not be deducted to determine the net income from a business);

(C) Interest, dividends, and other net income of any kind from real or personal property (for this purpose, expenditures for amortization of capital indebtedness and an allowance for depreciation of capital assets shall not be deducted to determine the net income from real or personal property). Where the family has net family assets in excess of $5,000, annual income shall include the greater of the actual income derived from all net family assets or a percentage of the value of the assets based on the current passbook savings rate as determined by the Department;

(D) The full amount of periodic payments received from Social Security annuities, insurance policies, retirement funds, pensions, disability or death benefits or other similar types of periodic receipts, including a lump-sum payment for the delayed start of a periodic payment;

(E) Welfare assistance;

(F) Payments in lieu of earnings, such as unemployment and disability compensation, worker’s compensation, and severance pay;

(G) Periodic and determinable allowances, such as alimony and child support payments, and regular contributions or gifts received from persons not residing in the rental unit;

(H) All regular pay, special pay, and allowances of a member of the armed forces, whether or not living in the rental unit, who is head of the family, spouse, or other person whose dependents are residing in the unit; and

(I) Any earned income tax credit to the extent it exceeds income tax liability.

(b) Applicable fair market rent. — The Department shall compute the tenant assistance payment for a family entering the Tenant Assistance Program on the most recent published fair market rents on the date of lease approval for the family.

(b-1) Payment cap. —

(1) Except in the case of elderly tenants or tenants with a disability, no tenant assistance payment shall exceed 60% of the amount of rent for the recipient’s rental unit. In the case of persons receiving tenant assistance payments on and before March 17, 1993, and continuously thereafter, this subsection shall apply 2 years from October 21, 1993.

(2) In the case of persons who are granted Tenant Assistance Program certification after March 17, 1993, if those persons have previously received Tenant Assistance Program subsidies, the subsidies provided those persons shall not exceed 60% of the amount of rent for the recipient’s rental unit.

(c) Rent not capped by payment standard. — Under the tenant assistance payment computation described in subsections (a) and (b) of this section, the amount of tenant assistance payment does not increase if the unit rents for more than the applicable fair market rent, but a tenant is not prohibited from renting such a unit.

(d) No reimbursement of amounts family owes housing provider. — The Department shall not reimburse the housing provider for the portion of the rent not covered by the tenant assistance payment, damages, or other amounts due under the lease.

(e) No payments for vacancies. — If a family moves out, the housing provider shall promptly notify the Department and the Department shall make no additional tenant assistance payments to the housing provider for any month after that in which the family moves. The housing provider may retain the tenant assistance payment for the month in which the family moves.

(f) Repealed.

(g) Finders-keepers policy. —

(1) A family with a certificate of eligibility is responsible for finding a rental unit suitable to the family’s needs and desires. A family may select the rental unit which it already occupies if the unit qualifies. Upon request, the Department shall assist families in finding units where, because of age, disability, large family size, or other reasons, the family is unable to locate an approvable unit. The Department shall also provide this assistance where the family alleges that illegal discrimination on grounds of race, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability is preventing it from finding a suitable unit.

(2) Neither in assisting a family in finding a unit nor by any other action shall the Department directly or indirectly reduce the family’s opportunity to choose among the available units in the housing market, except in accordance with § 42-3503.02(d).