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Today’s question might seem like an odd one to find on a personal injury blog but we assure you that it’s a relevant one, particularly to those of our readers who are currently renting property in the Washington D.C. area. That’s because, as you may or may not know, property owners in Maryland are required by law to provide safe and habitable conditions for residents. Failing to do so can lead to civil litigation, which is why we’ve asked the question above.

So are Washington DC landlords required by law to make repairs? Let’s take a look.

According to laws here in the District of Columbia, landlords are required to make repairs to a property in order to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their tenants. This includes repairs to the exterior of the property, such as sidewalks, stairs, walkways, wood surfaces, and the property’s foundation. It also includes interior repairs to individual units, such as lighting, paint, flooring, and even plumbing, just to name a few.

On top of a landlord’s legal requirement to maintain a safe premises, landlords must also make repairs in accordance with our state’s building standards. This means installing up-to-code fixtures and appliances, using products that are deemed safe and in accordance with the law, and making sure that any repairs follow state building regulations and codes.

As we already mentioned, if a Washington D.C. landlord fails to make repairs or does so in a way that is not in accordance with the law, and their actions directly result in injury or death, legal action can be taken by either the tenant or their family if the tenant was killed.

Because of the complexity of our legal system though, and the fact that most people only have a general understanding of the law, it’s considered a good idea to talk to a lawyer with experience handling commercial property and personal injury cases before moving forward with any civil actions.

Source: Harrison Institute for Public Law, “Washington, D.C. Tenant Survival Guide,” Accessed July 15, 2015

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