Welcome to the DC Water Cares Multifamily Assistance Program!
Thank you for your interest in the Multifamily Assistance Program! We’ve prepared the following information to provide all the details needed for tenants to determine eligibility, and owners to decide on participation. If you have any other questions or concerns after reviewing this information, please contact us on (202) 354-3750 or Cares@dcwater.com.
DC Water has long recognized the need to provide water bill assistance to families with fixed and limited incomes. Our individual effort and partnership with the District Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) resulted in the original Customer Assistance Program (CAP), CAP 2, CAP 3, CAP Non-Profit, Emergency Residential Relief Program (ERRP), DC Water Cares Residential Assistance Program, and now the Multifamily Assistance Program. Under this program DC Water has set aside funds to assist customers residing in eligible multifamily dwellings.
For more information on all our customer assistance programs, please visit dcwater.com/cap.
How It Works
DC Water encourages all owners of eligible multifamily properties to participate in the Multifamily Assistance Program while funds are available. The property owner or designee must complete an application and agree to the terms of the program. The amount of assistance provided is the same for each unit within the same property and is calculated based on the account details. For each unit where a qualifying occupant resides, DC Water will post a credit to the owner’s water service account. The participating owner will then post 90% of the credit to the qualifying occupant’s rental or home owner’s association (HOA) account. The intended purpose is to reduce the amount due in rent or HOA fees by the amount due for the occupant’s share of the water bill.
Who Qualifies for Assistance?
Once an owner agrees to participate, occupants of a multifamily property with four (4) or more units may qualify for assistance and are considered eligible in one of three (3) ways:
- Participation in benefit programs offered through the Department of Human and Health Services (DHS – i.e., TANF, SNAP, etc.). Occupants who have previously applied for and are currently receiving assistance do not need to reapply.
- Residence in a unit deemed an Affordable Housing Unit (AHU) by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). This information is provided by the property owner at the time of application.
- Income qualification for assistance approved through DOEE (i.e. LIHEAP). Occupants who have previously applied for and are currently receiving assistance do not need to reapply.
DC Water will notify DHS and AHU eligible occupants when the property owner applies and is approved. These occupants must accept or decline receipt of the assistance – as some programs count other benefits received as income. If you are receiving other benefits, please check with the benefit office for the program to determine if you should accept the assistance through DC Water. Occupants who apply through DOEE and reside at a participating property will receive the assistance upon receipt and processing of their request.
Owner Participation Status
Before you take any action, first confirm the property information and check the owner’s participation status here. Owners who have submitted an application can enter the application tracking number to check the status. Click on ‘Check Application Or Unit Status.’ If your property isn’t included in the program, this may be for one or more of the following reasons:
- The property is not eligible to participate because it is owned by a government agency.
These properties currently are not eligible to participate.
- The property has not been identified in our database as a multifamily dwelling that is serviced by one meter. A multifamily dwelling is a property with four (4) or more residential units.
- The property is included in a range of “through” addresses connected to the water meter through a main structure. For example, DC Water may have the metered address as 2100 Main St W, and your connected address is 2102 Main St W. Verify the main structure address for the property to ensure the correct status is provided.
How to Apply
The owner application process takes about 15 minutes to complete. Owners must provide property information including total units, total AHUs (if applicable), occupied AHUs, and tenant information – including name, address, unit identification, telephone number, and email (if available). If there is any retail or non-residential space within the property, owners will need to provide information regarding water usage and square footage for this space as well. If for any reason the information provided does not match the information DC Water has on record, owners should also be prepared to provide supplemental documentation – including Certificate of Zoning Inclusion, Certificate of Occupancy, and/or a Letter from the District agency that determines affordable housing. Owners should also be prepared to comply with the terms and conditions of the program which include access to the water meter readings, payment arrangements on remaining past due balances, and posting credit to the tenant’s rental account within 30 days of receiving the assistance credit on the DC Water account.
To apply, owners click Begin New Owner Application.
Remember, tenants who reside in an Affordable Housing Unit do not need to apply. Your property owner will provide residency details. Tenants who receive benefits through DOEE, LIHEAP, or DHS will be reviewed for eligibility. Tenants who are not currently receiving benefits through these programs may qualify based on income eligibility and must apply through DOEE. After applying through DOEE or being deemed eligible through another program, all tenants should check you email for additional information including details of the credit amount, or tracking information and access instructions to the program website, if you are required to take any further action to receive the credit.
There are two ways tenants can apply:
- Online: to complete the application online click here: https://dcwater.com/doee-dcwcares
- Mail: Print, complete, and send your completed application along with copies of the following documents:
( Click here to: Print Application )
- Applicant’s photo identification (Driver’s license, passport, government issued photo identification);
- Proof of household income for each of the income earning household members listed in the application, such as a recent paystub, Social Security benefit letter, or unemployment.
What to Expect
DC Water will make every effort to quickly process application material and notify both owners and tenants of updates to assistance information. During the applicable assistance phase, owners and tenants can track the application and unit status through the program website using the tracking number provided after an owner application has been submitted. Click on ‘Check Application Or Unit Status’ to access the tracking tool and enter your tracking number.
Applications will be reviewed, and statuses updated within five (5) business days of submission. Assistance credits will be posted to the DC Water account within ten (10) business days of application approval and tenant acceptance. Rental account credits will be posted to the tenant’s account within thirty (30) calendar days of posting to the DC Water account.
Complaints & Escalations
DC Water hopes multifamily owners will see the value in assisting its eligible occupants and choose to participate in the program; however, if for any reason the owner declines or withdraws participation in the program as required, DC Water will not post or remove credits posted to the DC Water account that the owner has not appropriately applied to the occupant’s rental or HOA account. Escalated instances may result from the following circumstances:
Owner declines participation.
An owner / landlord is not required to participate in the multifamily assistance program or subsequently provide a rental or HOA credit. Tenants are encouraged to seek other assistance options when the owner chooses not to participate.
Owner accepts participation but does not receive account credit.
An owner / landlord cannot provide a rental or HOA credit until DC Water posts the credit to the owner’s account. Credit posting may be delayed due to discrepancies in information that require additional verification or resources available to process the information. Occupants, please check the credit status online and allow up to 60 days for the credit to appear on your rental or HOA account. After 60 days, please contact DC Water at Cares@dcwater.com or (202) 354-3750 if the credit has not been posted.
Owner accepts participation, receives account credit, but does not post the correct rental or HOA credit.
An owner / landlord who accepts participation and an account credit for any property unit is required to provide 90% of the account credit as a rental or HOA credit to the occupant. If 60 days from the DC Water notice have expired and the owner has not applied the credit or applied an incorrect amount, please contact DC Water. DC Water will:
- Issue a demand notice to the owner to post the appropriate credit to the account within 10 business days of the notice date.
- Revoke the account credit if the rental credit is not posted by the 10th business day.
- Update the property participation status to Non-Compliance.
No further account credits will be granted for the current fiscal year to a property deemed non-compliant. The property may reapply pending program availability in the following fiscal year.
Any owner or occupant concerns regarding payment of rental expenses for properties who have declined participation, not received an account credit from DC Water, or had a credit revoked must be handled through traditional landlord / tenant dispute procedures within the Office of the Tenant Advocate. Please visit that agency’s website at https://ota.dc.gov/ for more information.