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Council Period 12
Council Period 13
|Councilmember Phil Mendelson
Councilmember Carol Schwartz
Councilmember Jim Graham
A BILL IN THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Councilmember Phil Mendelson introduced the following bill, which was referred to the
Committees on Public Works and the Environment with comments from the Committees on
Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and the Judiciary.
To amend title 47 of the District of Columbia Code and the Clean Hands Act to require
the payment of water and sewer bills as a condition to receiving a master business license
or other license or permit; to amend the District of Columbia Public Works Act of 1954 to
strengthen the receivership provision when water and sewer fees are unpaid; and to
otherwise create penalties for the nonpayment of water and sewer bills.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, That this act may be cited as
the "Water and Sewer Authority Collection Enhancement Amendment Act of 1999".
Sec. 2. Title 47 of the District of Columbia Code is amended as follows:
(a) Section 47-2851.11(a)(2) is amended to read as follows:
"The person or business is delinquent in taxes, periodic report fees, or penalties
owing to the District, is delinquent in service fees owed to the Water and Sewer
Authority, or is not validly registered in accordance with District law. The Office of Tax
and Revenue and the Water and Sewer Authority shall cooperate with the business license
center to determine if such taxes, fees, penalties or service fees are owing.".
(b) Section 47-2861(1) is amended as follows:
(A) Paragraph (1) is amended by adding at the end the phrase ", or the District of
Columbia Water and Sewer Authority."; and
(B) by adding a new paragraph "(5)" to read as follows:
"(5) 'Water and Sewer Authority service fees' means the fees or charges for water
and sewer service billed by the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority.".
(c) Section 47-2862 is amended as follows:
(1) Paragraph (3) is amended by striking the word "or";
(2) Paragraph (4) is amended by striking the period at the end and inserting a
semi-colon at the end in its place; and
(3) A new paragraph''(5)" is added to read as follows:
"(5) Past due fees and charges for water and sewer service billed by the District
of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority.".
Sec. 3. Section 1804 of the District of Columbia Public Works Act of 1954, approved May
18, 1954 (68 Stat. 101; D.C. Code §43-1654 et seq.) is amended as follows:
(1) Subsection (a)(1) is amended to read as follows:
"(a)(l)(A) Upon nonpayment of a delinquent account by the owner, agent, lessor, or
manager of a rental property that is billed directly by the District of Columbia Water and
Sewer Authority ("Authority") for water and sewer services, the Authority or a
tenant who resides in the affected rental property may petition the Court for the
appointment of a receiver for the rental payments in the same manner as for appointment of
a receiver under section 4 of the Promotion of Electric and Gas Utility Service
Termination to Master-Metered Apartment Buildings Act of 1980, effective September 13,
1980 (D.C. Law 3-94; D.C. Code §43-543), except as may be otherwise be provided in this
"(B) The receiver may take any action deemed necessary or appropriate to collect
all rental payments from the tenants of the rental property and shall establish an escrow
account with such funds. The receiver shall pay the Authority from such escrow account for
services provided on or after the date of the receiver's appointment. If the owner, agent,
lessor, or manager also is indebted to an electric or gas company for utility services,
the receiver may order the rents collected to be equitably apportioned between the
Authority and the electric or gas company. In addition, the receiver may use the rental
payments collected to reduce delinquent water and sewer charges owed to the Authority.
Upon order of the court, the receiver shall become trustee of any escrow accounts or
other funds established by the tenants or otherwise into which rents or payments for use
and occupancy have been made.
"(C) The owner, agent, lessor or manager shall be liable for such reasonable fees
and costs determined by the Court to be due the receiver, which may be recovered from the
rental payments under control of the receiver, provided that no such fees or costs shall
be turned over until after payment of current water and sewer charges has been
"(D) The receiver may make payments in reasonable amounts to the Authority to
reduce delinquent water and sewer charges until all such delinquent charges have been
paid, and the receiver shall operate and maintain the structure to the best extent
possible with the rents remaining after such payment. The receiver shall have the
authority to recommend to the court a payment plan, which shall be binding if ordered by
the court, to pay off any remaining delinquencies in water and sewer charges. Any monies
remaining after the payments pursuant to this subsection shall be turned over to the
owner, agent, lessor, or manager unless otherwise ordered by the court.
(2) Subsection (b) is amended to read as follows:
"(b) Any receivership established by subsection (a) of this section shall be
terminated by the Court upon a finding that the arrearage which was the subject of the
original petition has been satisfied or that the apartment house has been sold and the new
owner has made satisfactory arrangements to pay the arrearages and has assumed liability
for prospective water and sanitary sewer services.'"
(3) Subsection (c) is amended by adding the term "Authority" after the term
Sec. 4 Any person who knowingly fails to pay water and sewer charges to the District of
Columbia Water and Sewer Authority, or to make satisfactory arrangements for the payment
thereof, for more than 12 months is guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof,
shall be fined not more than $500, or imprisoned not more than 30 days, or both. Any
person who knowingly fails to pay water and sewer charges to the District of Columbia
Water and Sewer Authority, or to make satisfactory arrangements for the payment thereof,
in an amount of more than $10,000 and for more than 2 years is guilty of a felony, and
upon conviction thereof, shall be fined up to 20% of the amount owed, but not less than
$5,000, or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.
Sec. 4. Fiscal impact statement.
The Council adopts the fiscal impact statement in the committee report as the fiscal
impact statement required by section 602(c)(3) of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act,
approved December 24, 1973 (87 Stat. 813; D.C. Code §1-233(c)(3)).
Sec. 5. This act shall take effect following approval by the Mayor (or in the event of
veto by the Mayor, action by the Council to override the veto), approval by the Financial
Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority as provided in section 203(a) of the
District of Columbia Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Act of 1995,
approved April 17, 1995 (109 Stat. 116; D.C. Code §47-392.3(a)), a 30-day period of
Congressional review as provided in section 602(c)(1) of the District of Columbia Home
Rule Act, approved December 24, 1973 (87 Stat. 813; D.C. Code §1-233(c)(1)), and
publication in the District of Columbia Register.