Summary of District of Columbia's Foreclosure Laws

If you are facing foreclosure in D.C, it’s important to understand some of the basics, including:

  • the most common type of foreclosure procedure (judicial v. nonjudicial) used in D.C.
  • how much time you have to respond
  • your rights and protections in the process, and
  • what happens afterwards (for example, whether you’ll be liable for a deficiency judgment).

Below we have outlined some of the most important features of D.C. foreclosure law. Keep in mind that this is just a summary; we’ve included statute citations so you can get more details from the laws themselves. And be sure to check out Nolo’s extensive Foreclosure section, where you can find information about all aspects of foreclosure, definitions of foreclosure terms (like redemption and reinstatement), and options to avoid foreclosure.


State Rule

Most common type of foreclosure process

Nonjudicial under power of sale in deed of trust

Notice of the foreclosure

Foreclosing party must mail a notice of default along with a mediation notice giving 30 days to elect mediation. If the borrower does not elect mediation (or participates in mediation but does not work out an agreement with the foreclosing party), the foreclosure may proceed. The foreclosing party then sends a notice of the intention to foreclose (including sale information) 30 days before the sale to borrower and sends a copy of the notice to the mayor. The 30-day period begins when the mayor receives notice.

Reinstatement of loan before sale

Available up to five business days before the sale, once in two consecutive years

Redemption after sale

Not available

Special protections for foreclosures involving high-cost mortgages


Special state protections for service members


Deficiency judgments

May be obtained by filing a lawsuit

Cash exempted in bankruptcy

About $12,725 for one person, $25,450 for a married couple under federal bankruptcy exemptions; up to $8,925 under the D.C. bankruptcy exemptions

Notice to leave after house is sold

New owner may file a lawsuit to evict former homeowners from the property after giving notice to quit. A summons must be served seven days before trial regarding possession.

Foreclosure statute

D.C. Code Ann. § § 42-815 through 42-816

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