Kris Laurenti Found a Way to Make DC More Affordable — and You Can Too!

September 15, 2015

Kris Laurenti registered for a permanent reduced annual rent increase, thanks to Iona. Now, she is saving some money on her rent, so she can travel more.
Kris Laurenti registered for a permanent reduced annual rent increase, thanks to Iona. Now, she is saving some money on her rent, so she can travel more.

Like many of the District’s 100,000+ seniors, Kris Laurenti had a problem — how to “age in place” in an increasingly unaffordable Washington, DC. Fortunately, thanks to Iona, Kris found a solution.

A licensed clinical social worker, Kris has lived in the District since 1978. Currently, she works for the DC Department of Health.

In 2001, Kris moved her ailing mother into her rent controlled apartment in Cleveland Park. For the next seven and a half years, Kris served as her mother’s caregiver. It was during this time that she first connected with Iona. “I’d always heard Iona was in our neighborhood, but I never had a reason to use it,” says Kris. “Especially as a social worker, I saw what a worthwhile and productive organization it is. They know what needs to be done and they get the work done. I will always be grateful to them.”

This spring, Iona helped Kris again when she found the rent control article posted on Iona’s website. The DC rent control law gives all older adults like Kris, age 62 or older, the legal right to register for a permanent reduced annual rent increase. Additionally, there are no income requirements. Kris immediately registered.

The result? Kris pays $22 less a month in rent — saving $264 this year. Now, Kris not only has the peace of mind of reduced rental housing costs, she also has more dollars to spend on one of her favorite things — travel (in fact, Kris just returned from Singapore!).

You May Be Eligible for Annual Reduced Rent Increases

Housing advocates estimate that 10% or 7,900 of the available 79,000 rent-controlled units may be occupied by older adults like Kris who are eligible but unaware that they have the legal right to apply for a permanent reduced annual rent increase. You are eligible if:

  • You live in a rent-controlled unit in a building built before 1976;
  • You signed the lease;
  • Your annual rent increase notice is RAD Form 8, from the DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD);
  • You meet one of the eligibility requirements: — at least 62 years old — OR are disabled (any age);
  • You do not receive any District or federal voucher money for your rent payments

    Help is Available

If you and/or your caregiver need help determining your legal rights or registering for a permanent reduced annual rent increase, call the Office of the Tenant Advocate at (202) 719-6560 or visit them online at http://ota.dc.gov.

By Barbara B. Cline

Barbara B. Cline, CPA, is a former auditor and non-profit executive. She is a SERVEDC Commissioner, where she works on the emergency planning task force. She lives with her husband, who has some physical challenges, in an apartment in NW, DC.  Barbara is a fair housing and disability rights advocate and writes articles on housing issues — including rent-control, an often unknown and misunderstood type of affordable DC housing, for both Iona and the Forest Hills Connection.