TERRY, Associate Judge:
On this appeal from a judgment for the landlord in a landlord-and-tenant proceeding, the tenant makes numerous contentions, all but one of which are totally without merit. One of his claims of error, however, is well founded. We hold that, given the pleadings before it, the trial court erred when it entered a money judgment against appellant in a suit brought against him for possession only.
Appellee filed suit in the Landlord and Tenant Branch for possession of certain real estate based on appellant's non-payment of rent, alleging in its complaint that a notice to quit had been specifically waived in writing. However, appellee did not request in addition a money judgment for rent in arrears; that portion of the printed complaint form was left blank. At the conclusion of a bench trial, appellee was awarded a judgment for possession and for money damages in the amount of $1,165, consisting of $613 for rent in arrears and $552 in monies deposited in the registry of the court pursuant to a protective order.
Super. Ct. L & T R. 3 provides in pertinent part:
Appellant was not personally served in the instant case, nor did he assert a counterclaim or a defense of recoupment or setoff.
The trial court also erred in awarding to appellee the $552 in the registry of the court, but its error lay only in making that award part of its final judgment. The distribution of the funds in the registry was the concluding stage of a separate and distinct equitable proceeding, not part of the underlying possessory action. That proceeding was begun by the entry of the protective order, an equitable remedy designed "to avoid placing one party at a severe disadvantage during the period of litigation." Bell v. Tsintolas Realty Co., 139 U.S.App.D.C. 101, 109, 430 F.2d 474, 482 (1970); accord, Davis v. Rental Associates, Inc., 456 A.2d 820, 823-824 (D.C.Mun.App. 1983) (en banc) (plurality opinion). Disbursement of the money deposited pursuant to that protective order, with or without a hearing,
Reversed in part, vacated and remanded in part.
During the trial appellee also filed, with leave of court, a document entitled "Trial Memorandum" which included a schedule of rent payments over a seventeen-month period. The schedule listed for each month the rent claimed by appellee, the rent paid by appellant, and the difference between the two figures. Whether this Trial Memorandum should be construed as an additional amendment to the complaint is a difficult question; it contains no language purporting to amend anything, but there is at least an intimation in the record that it was so intended. For the purposes of our decision, therefore, we shall assume, without deciding, that the Trial Memorandum did amend the complaint by adding a claim for money damages.