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Photo by PoPville flickr user Lauren Parnell Marino

“Dear PoPville,

On Sat. morning I found a wallet in the Zipcar space beside my own parking space in the alley behind Irving St. Though stuffed full with cards, bits of paper, driver’s license, two credit cards and $600.00 in cash, there was no phone number for the owner.

My friends and I spent about 20 minutes playing Sherlock Holmes trying to track her down. There was a card with a work number, but just an answer machine on Sat. A Post-it with some scribbled numbers, (no answer or no one knew her.) Looked up the number for the apt. building listed on her driver’s license but there was no answer. Finally we called Capitol One and after much “press one for this, press two for that. . .” talked to a person and asked them to contact her.

She finally connected with us later that afternoon, after a whole morning of anxiety.

This is actually the third wallet I’ve found with no contact information for the owner! So people – go right now – put a card with your phone number in your wallet and purse.”

inspection

“Dear PoPville,

My apartment building does mandatory inspections at least twice a year. They write people up for having dishes in the sink, clothes on the floor, etc. If you receive a violation, they come back (without your permission or you being there) to make sure that you have nothing on the floor / in the sink, etc. They also send in pest control people into every unit at least twice a year. So four times a year, my apartment is entered without my permission. They let us know this is happening by slipping flyers under our door somewhere between 48 hours to 24 hours in advance.

I keep my apartment extremely clean and never leave any dishes in the sink, dirty clothes on the floor, etc. but I find it really scary that someone (who knows who) is entering my apartment without me being able to be there. I travel often for work and the last time these inspections happened, I returned and found the flyer under my door, my apartment had clearly been entered, my bowl of little earrings had been knocked over and some were missing (probably from falling down cracks) but still – I was pretty unsettled about this. I emailed the building to ask them to never enter my apartment without me being there and they never responded. I then showed up in person to the leasing office and asked them to please not enter my apartment without me being there and they said that those were not the rules and that they were set by Borger Management who runs the building.

Since the women who work the leasing office seem to have no power to stop these inspections, how can I get my apartment building to stop entering my apartment without me being there? I like my apartment and I want to keep living there but I don’t really feel very safe knowing someone from the building is entering my apartment without my knowledge multiple times a year.”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user nevermindtheend

“Dear PoPville,

My husband and I lived in a large fancy apartment building in Mt. Vernon for our first year in DC and had a very good experience there – until we moved out. I’m sure you here many stories about landlords unfairly withholding security deposits for bogus claims and this is one of those stories. However, luckily we have lawyers in the family who were able to remind our landlord of our rights – and get our money back! I thought I’d pass along some of that information to share with others as I know this is a very busy time for moving: (more…)

shaved ice
Photo by PoPville flickr user Blink Ofanaye

“Dear PoPville,

The heat in DC was so crazy last weekend and I found myself screaming for some snowballs! I tried to Google for any snowball stands in DC area and was able to find only one in Bethesda, MD. Rita’s Italian Ice is not the same….but an actual snowball stand is just the best. Do any of your readers know any snowball stands in DC? PLEASE let me know as soon as possible to be able to save me for the next heat wave! Thanks!”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Andrei Sinioukov

“Dear PoPville,

Two weeks ago I lost my phone. While picking my 10 month old daughter up from daycare, I put my phone on the roof of my car to place her in her car seat. I didn’t realize that I had left it there and that it had flown off until I got home and I’m crushed.

If it was just my phone, it wouldn’t matter that much to me but all of the pictures and video (Thanksgiving, Christmas, her crawling) that I’ve taken of my daughter, from November to now – 7 seven months of her life – were on that phone and they were not backed up. Shame on me for that, I know. I’m hoping that one of your readers can help me locate the phone.

For the days after I lost it, it couldn’t be located. I’m thinking the battery died. This week it was located in two different places:
5157 Fort Totten St. NE, earlier this week and
1060 Quebec Pl NW, today.

The phone is an iPhone 6. It has a case on it. The case is a picture of my daughter in a pile of leaves.

Please, if someone has found this phone, please return it. Your gesture will be rewarded.

I can be reached at onemoremile@gmail.com

Thanks so much,
Mary Lou aka Mom who lost her phone”

raccoon face

“Dear PoPville,

I think we have a raccoon family living in the roof of our porch and I want to get rid of them without killing them. Is that possible?

We had a little bird nest last summer that we didn’t worry too much about. But by wintertime, the squirrels kicked the birds out, and now it seems that a raccoon family has moved in. I saw the raccoon climbing on our brick house (it was much bigger than I imagined!) and my husband has seen the mama raccoon be joined by three little babies. They are doing a lot of damage to the porch, as you can imagine, so we want them out. But will the city resettle them or kill them? Any leads on the most compassionate way to handle this situation is?”

Ed. Note: I always recommend Adcock Trapping.

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Lorie Shaull

“Dear PoPville,

I live in an Adams Morgan apartment recently bought and managed by UIP. When I toured the place last summer, I was quoted a rent of ~$2800. When I came to sign the lease, I was told the rent was actually ~$3200 but I’d be given concessions to the tune of ~$400. Being somewhat renter naive and in a hurry, I went ahead and signed the lease.

I was then more than a little embarrassed when someone pointed out at a tenants association meeting that if my base rent had actually been $2800, UIP would only be able to raise it by $98 as the legally allowed yearly increase (1.5% CPI + 2%). So, not only could UIP decide to simply stop giving me the concessions, effectively raising my rent by $400 a month, they *could* raise it another $112 ($3200 x 3.5%). My monthly payment could go from $2800 to $3312. Even if they don’t raise it that much, they can still raise it beyond the 3.5% simply by offering me less in concessions. Of course, I’ll move out before I’ll pay that much.

I felt a little less embarrassed when I discovered that several of my fellow tenants were in the same boat. I see people coming in all the time to look at vacant apartments and I want to warn them. To all those looking to rent in DC, please be aware of the ramifications of rent concessions!”

IMG_7894

“Dear PoPville,

I was wondering if any of your readers knows anything about the dog who likes to chill on the roof of a commercial structure located near the intersection of IrvingKenyon and Georgia. I’ve seen him there a couple of times, and he never fails to amaze me. He’s super calm, and as far as I can tell spends hours up there surveying his kingdom. Does he belong to the owners of the shopfront? Does he ever venture down to mingle with the common folks?”

Yup, he’s all good up there with his own ramp – I think he’s owned by the guy who owns Morgan’s Seafood.

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr.TinDC

“Dear PoPville,

I am getting ready to move and need a number of things fixed in my house / projects completed before I rent it out. My first thought was to do it ourselves but my husband and I work full time and have a new baby, so we just do not have the time. Then I thought I’d just hire a handyman rather than a full service general contractor, since individually these are all small projects (but collectively will be probably several days of work). I have contacted a few places (Renaissance and Handyman Services Corp, both with good online reviews) to see if they could take on the job but neither has replied. So, I’d like to know if the PoP community has any suggestions for a good handyman or contractor who’d be willing to take on the “small” jobs? The list of projects is below:

Projects:
1) replace missing trim on side of porch roof
2) patch cracks in concrete porch
3) touch up paint on interior walls
4) re-paint interior trim and doors (or instead of scraping and re-painting doors replacing doors if it will be cheaper)
5) replace lock on 1 exterior door
6) install 2 hard-wired smoke detectors (connections from an old one are already there)
7) replace broken floor tiles in bathroom
8) replace bathroom vanity
9) replace bathroom light fixture
10) paint fence in back of house
11) paint exterior window trim on back of house
12) insulate kitchen pipes (they are exposed in basement ceiling)
13) patch 2 holes in drywall ceiling where access to kitchen pipes is (we opened them up to expose the kitchen pipes to thaw them out after one of the cold snaps this winter)”

roots
Photo by PoPville flickr user Erin

“Dear PoPville,

I have a rowhouse and my neighbor has a large tree with roots that are pushing up my patio, but it’s unclear whether or not they are damaging the foundation of my house. The tree also has branches that cover a large portion of my backyard and part of my house. Has anyone else been in a similar situation and if so, how did you handle it? The damage to the patio is an easy fix, but I’m concerned about the potential of significant damage to the house itself.”

Ed. Note: We’ve recently spoken about branches but I don’t think we’ve ever discussed a root situation like this.