WASHINGTON — The federal eviction moratorium officially ended Saturday night, but some protections remain for those who call D.C. home.
Local politicians like DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson are calling it "soft landing" legislation.
It's a new policy passed by the council in July that's designed to give D.C. renters a few more months of cover -- before eviction proceedings start to ramp back up.
"The moratorium is ending on the federal level," said Mendelson. "People are nervous about that. But in the District, it's not until the middle of Oct. that a landlord could file in Landlord-Tenant court."
According to him, the policy bars landlords from filing new eviction proceedings against tenants for nonpayment of rent until Oct. 12, 2021.
Even then, some restrictions will remain according to Legal Aid DC Housing Law Unit Supervising Attorney Amanda Korber.
"There are steps that a landlord has to take before they can even file on Oct. 12," she said.
They include a requirement that landlords attempt to connect their tenants with DC's allocation of rent-relief funding.
"We have $350 million dollars in federal relief money specifically for rent," said Mendelson.
A city program called Stay DC distributes those funds.
Tenants who fell into debt during the pandemic can apply at any time, according to Korber.
"There is no harm in applying for Stay DC and really everybody should be doing it," she said.
To see if you're eligible, and for instructions on how to apply, visit this website.
The program can help eligible tenants pay past and future rent.
However, approval can take some time and with Oct. 12 inching closer, Mendelson is urging DC renters to get their applications in now.
"The moratorium is going to come to an end but they've got months," he said. "They can apply for rent relief and we want them to apply for rent relief."
Korber says attorneys at Legal Aid DC and other similar organizations are standing by to help anyone who thinks they might be at risk of eviction.
To reach the DC Landlord Tenant Legal Assistance Network, Korber says you can call 202-780-2575.
Old evictions that were filed in D.C. court prior to the eviction moratorium's passage and put on pause during the pandemic may begin sooner than the Oct. 12 date for new eviction proceedings. According to Mendelson's communications director, Lindsey Walton, eviction proceedings in these older cases could proceed as soon as August 26, 2021. Landlords still must provide tenants a "30-day notice before the date of eviction."