Photo by PoPville flickr user Jim Havard

“Dear PoPville,

The owners of the house next door do not maintain it at all. In particular, when there are heavy rain, they let their basement get flooded and do not do anything about it. The sitting water is leaking into our house. We have cleaned their drain for them, talked to them, but it serves no purpose. We now have mold in our house.

Does anyone know how to handle this? Do we file a complaint? With whom? Do we talk to a lawyer? Specific recommendations welcome! We moved out of the country three days ago and dialogue, which has never worked, is not really an option any more!”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Jennifer

“Dear PoPville,

I live in Columbia Heights and I’m dealing with a rodent problem in the alley behind my house. I even saw one enter my car’s engine which could mean they are nesting in there and that could cause not only damage to my car, but affect my health.

My upstairs neighbors have reported it to 311 and the rat abatement guy came out however he said they can’t get rid of the nests that are on private property without the owner’s permission and our neighbors are denying them entry.

What can I do?? Help!!”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Julian Ortiz

“Dear PoPville,

I have had a mild street harasser (typical cat caller… But he’s now started to follow me home.). I have filed a police report but now I’m freaked out he knows where I live. I have an alarm system but I’m hoping for a recommendation for good quality video camera to ensure he’s not coming around my home. Would the readers be able to recommend a camera/system that would give high quality imaging? Trying to not over react but I’m home alone with my 4 year old a lot while my husband travels and I’m pretty nervous now.”


“Dear PoPville,

This morning my girlfriend was driving to work and a cab (Cab #J722) stopped short in front of her to drop his passengers off. I think it was a ABC cab but it could have been Luxury also, I noticed they both use the same red with grey siding coloration. [Ed. Note: Red and Grey is a city wide designation for all companies.] His brake lights were out and she almost rear ended him. When she pulled around him she very calmly and politely informed him that his break lights were out he responded very aggressively with “leave me the f*ck alone you stupid bitch.” The driver was an older overweight african american man with gray hair. She was left very upset and shaken from the experience. Like I said I am not sure about the company but I am sure about the cab #. When I called the companies to file a complaint, neither were interested in hearing anything I had to say so I thought my best course of action was turning to the PoPville community to at the very least inform them about this cab driver and to be weary of him. Hopefully the company takes note of the post and if they don’t reprimand the driver, at the very least they could make him fix his brake lights.”

Ed. Note: You can also file a complaint with the DC Taxi Commission.

Photo by PoPville flickr user Clif Burns

“Dear PoPville,

I would like to do some canning this weekend and am wondering if readers have any advice for me on which farms might offer deals on veggies and fruit? In the past, I’ve been able to buy a flat of peaches or a box of tomatoes that are slightly bruised/overripe/etc for much much cheaper than at the farmers market, but my go to source moved away. Any suggestions?”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Erin

“Dear PoPville,

My boyfriend and I recently received notice from our landlord that our large, lovely patio, the sole reason we decided to rent the unit, will be undergoing 18+ weeks of construction to repair brick damage from the DC earthquake a few years back. We can’t go out on the patio for the entire 18 weeks, and will need to leave our blinds closed due to dust and falling brick risk. We recently moved into the building, so are very frustrated none of this was shared with us prior to moving in: we wouldn’t have signed a lease if we knew we’d be living in a construction zone for 4-5 months so soon after moving.

We think we are entitled to a rent reduction to make up for the patio loss, noise, and dust we’ll be experiencing – we determined the price per square foot we pay for the patio, and want it removed from our rent. Do we have any legal rights to ask for this financial concession? We’ve emailed the DC Office of Tenant Advocacy but have yet to hear back. Has anyone else out there had a similar experience? Thank you for any advice!”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Miki J.

“Dear PoPville,

I work with babies, and I think carrying and lifting big babies and strollers and other things have taken a toll on my neck and shoulders over the past 6 months in particular. I occasionally get pinched nerves from over-tight muscles that reach all the way up to my head — the result is extremely painful migraines that last for days. I would love it if your readers could recommend some places in DC that are metro-accessible and not terribly expensive. I’m looking for professional massage therapists who really understand the relationship between musculature and nerves. I’m also open to trying a talented therapist who practices Chinese medicine and/or Eastern treatments.

The pain from these muscle-related migraines is almost unbearable these days. Thank you in advance.”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Matt Steenhoek

“Dear PoPville,

I’m writing for advice about excessive noise levels that DC police have repeatedly refused to address.

Each day (every day) on the corner of 15th and Penn a band with a full drum kid, three trombones, and, occasionally, amplified vocals plays for about 6 hours. It’s a commercial district where DC law imposes a 65 decibel noise limit (DC Rule 20-2701.1) which applies to “Noise resulting from musical instruments, loud speakers,” and other sources (20-2800.1).

The trombones and drums clearly exceed these decibel limits (trombones produce sound between 85-115 decibels and drums are even louder). (In addition to being extremely loud, the band only plays four musical sequences, so it’s basically like listening to the same ten trombone blasts on repeat over the entire workday.)

Hundreds of people in my offices and in the five surrounding large office buildings have called in noise complaints over the last several months. (See the Washingtonian article–from May–mocking one office for their complaints.)

DC police regularly respond that they are unable to measure the decibel levels of the band and hence cannot tell whether they are breaking the law. In essence, they shrug their shoulders and say they won’t do anything about it.

We are all sympathetic for the guys in the band, and understand where people are coming from when they ask what the big deal is. But it is exceptionally distracting and people are very frustrated with the band itself and with the response of the city and the police. The police are basically allowing four individual street vendors to break the noise ordinance at the expense of several hundred workers.

Thus far, neither the city nor the police (nor direct outreach to the band itself) have helped. Any advice?”