Washington, DC

Photo by PoPville flickr user brunofish

“Dear PoPville,

My property management company Nest unexpectedly announced that they are changing our roommate swap policy. Now every time my group house changes roommates we will forfeit our portion of the security deposit instead of paying a flat $200 change fee. Nest argues that we are expected to come and go as a group, but this runs totally contrary to the group house dynamic in DC. No one who lives in the house even signed the original lease in 2013 — we were all added in addendums. This backdoor fee hike is asking a lot of us and I expect a lot of group houses will break apart before the new policy takes effect. My question to the community is whether there is anything in DC’s tenant law that would protect us from this unwelcome surprise?”

Full policy change announcement letter after the jump.

“Dear Nest Tenant,

You may know that Nest has been in the habit of facilitating “roommate swaps” upon approval of the owner and for a $200 fee. This was to allow for changes in tenants when things come up and one or more roommate needed to move out and find a replacement for their place on the lease. We always aim to be accommodating but we also have to respond to the feedback we get from owners, many of whom are concerned with the increased wear and tear that so many moves in and out of their properties cause.

Taking this into consideration, while still hoping to allow changes when they are truly necessary, we are changing our roommate swap policy as of March 1st, 2018. As of that date, roommate swaps will be allowed only if the owner approves and the departing tenant will forfeit their portion of the security deposit in lieu of a standardized fee. As part of this process, Nest will now conduct inspections of properties undergoing roommate swaps so we can more accurately assess any damage that a departing tenant is responsible for.

We always hope that tenants sign leases with the understanding that it is a commitment to the lease term and that to give notice to vacate, the entire household must
give notice to vacate. However, we understand there are some changes that are unavoidable and we can certainly capture those within the new constraints of the roommate swap process. The ample lead time on this notice is meant to provide enough time for folks to make decisions on their housing situation. However, if you have any concerns, we are happy to talk through them!

Please let us know if you have any questions! Thanks,
The Nest DC Team”


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