One way for a landlord to avoid a petition to the government is a voluntary agreement that was signed by 70 percent of tenants. According to Schwat, a typical voluntary agreement allows new homeowners to increase the rent of certain units, usually only when the units are empty. According to the Ministry of Housing and Municipal Development, voluntary agreements are rare. The city receives between 10 and 30 such petitions each year (including some detached houses), which represents about 0.4 to 1% of all buildings covered by the Rent Control Act (Figure 2). Of the 167 petitions that sought a result, 80 per cent of voluntary agreements were approved, about 5 per cent were rejected and 15 per cent did not progress. Although there is protection for rents, says Cohn, there are countless paths around them. Of the five petitions from the housing provider, which increase the rent ceiling of controlled units, most often the 70% voluntary agreement mentioned above is invoked. A spokeswoman for the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development said that over the past 10 years, an average of 20 were submitted per year, which Cohn said “doesn`t seem like much, but has a buzzing impact on the number of controlled units in the city. It becomes upsetting when the numbers get worse year after year. This is a serious erosion of a good brake on rental. Schwat says that while the law requires 70 percent of tenants to sign a voluntary agreement, IPU 75 percent of tenants require you to sign the contract before making a forward transaction.
Hernandez won his case, but the management problems remained. Five years later, in 2012, its landlord tried to increase his rent by 8.57 percent – about 5 percent more than the 3.6 percent allowed this year for seniors like Hernandez. The lessor invoked a little-known vehicle, called 70% voluntary agreement, which allows renters to raise the rental ceiling of a building (typically for empty units) with the agreement of at least 70 percent of tenants. It is generally justified by the promise that management will use the additional funds for repairs and maintenance.