D.C. Mayor Extends Debt Collection Restrictions


The restrictions are part of the COVID-19 state of emergency in Washington, D.C., and will be in effect through at least Dec. 31.

10/12/2020 9:00

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser has again extended the state of emergency order enacted in response to COVID-19, this time until the end of the year.

The order, dating back to this summer, was set to expire Oct. 9, 2020, and includes the temporary debt collection restriction that lasts 60 days after the state of emergency ends.

Washington, D.C., is in phase two of its COVID-19 response and additional measures were issued by the mayor as part of the extension of the emergency order related to outdoor dining and a safe return to work at government agencies, for example.

District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine previously issued guidance on the debt collection provision of the COVID-19 Response Supplemental Emergency Act, which remains in effect, ACA International previously reported.

On June 8, the mayor signed a new consolidated Coronavirus Support Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2020, which contains all the previous restrictions on debt collection activities included in the original COVID-19 emergency response bill.

The debt collection provisions will be in place during the period of the mayor’s emergency declaration and for 60 days after it ends.

According to the attorney general’s Debt Collection FAQs, “The Emergency Act covers any debt that is 30 days past due and was made for the purchase of goods, services, or property for personal, family or household purposes. This includes motor vehicle loans but does not include home mortgages or other loans on real property (Section 202 of the Emergency Act includes separate mortgage relief measures). For the duration of the declared coronavirus emergency, and for 60 days after its conclusion, the Emergency Act prohibits creditors and debt collectors from threatening or initiating any new legal action to collect a debt, visiting a debtor’s home or place of employment, or confronting the debtor about the debt in any public place. It also prohibits debt collectors, but not original creditors or entities who obtain the debt prior to its default, from communicating with debtors, including by phone call, email, or text message. However, communications relating to rescheduling court dates are exempted, and if a debtor initiates the communication, the debt collector may still respond to the request.”

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