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SCHWELB, Associate Judge: Although understandably less popular with landlords, of whom there are relatively few, than with
tenants, of whom there are many, rent "stabilization" and rent control have been around for a long time in the District of
Columbia, and their death-knell on constitutional grounds does not appear to be around the corner. Pennell v. City of San
Jose, 485 U.S. 1, 8-15, 99 L. Ed. 2d 1, 108 S. Ct. 849 (1988); see also Hornstein v. Barry, 560 A.2d 530, 537-38 (D.C. 1989)
(en banc). The terminology of some of the provisions of our legislation is not characterized by the most luminous clarity,
see Winchester Van Buren Tenants Ass'n v. District of Columbia Rental Hous. Comm'n, 550 A.2d 51 (D.C. 1988), and this court
will generally defer to the Rental Housing Commission's resolution of any ambiguity, provided that the agency's construction
is reasonable and consistent with the language and purposes of the statute. Id. In the present case, however, the agency has
adopted an interpretation of a provision of the statute relating to hardship rent increases which is incompatible with its
plain language, and we are not persuaded that a literal construction produces absurd or manifestly unjust results antagonistic
to the statutory purposes. Neither the Commission nor this court is authorized to read into an unambiguous statute language
that is not there, or to rewrite legislation to make it more "equitable" or "fair." 1 Accordingly, we reverse the Commission's
decision and remand for further proceedings. Petitioner James Parreco & Son (hereinafter Parreco or the landlord) owns a multiple dwelling in northwest Washington
to which the provisions of the Rental Housing Act apply. Parreco refinanced the property with a second trust and thereafter
filed a hardship petition requesting that he be permitted to increase the rent, upon the grounds that he was not receiving
a ten per cent return on his equity, as provided by D.C. Code 45-1523 (1981) (recodified 1985). 2 He now appeals
from a decision of the Rental Housing Commission holding that he is not entitled, in calculating his net income from the property,
to deduct interest payments on the mortgage loan, because he has failed to demonstrate that the borrowed money has been reinvested
in the premises. Parreco has, however, been required to treat the same mortgage loan as an encumbrance on the property, thus
reducing the value of his equity in the calculation of his rate of return.

Professional & Technical
November 28
LawApp Publishers
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