04/18/14 2:10pm

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Photo by PoPville flickr user caroline.angelo

Man impersonating an FBI agent?

“I was on the 64 Bus south to federal triangle on Tuesday morning around 9:15 when a man got on sometime between Irving and Florida Ave. He was dressed like an FBI agent with tactical pants and boots, a professional looking belt with hand cuffs and a few other official looking pouches. He was wearing an FBI sweatshirt that anyone can purchase from one of the many tourist trap trucks around the mall which raised a red flag for me. His pants were also really saggy. Maybe I just have unrealistic ideas of FBI agents but he seemed way too unprofessional to be a real one – especially the touristy FBI hoodie.

Has anyone else seen this guy? Or maybe you know him and he actually is an FBI agent? Maybe he’s just an FBI agent that had a bad morning and was looking a little sloppy. I don’t know – but considering impersonating a federal agent is very illegal I just thought I’d throw this out there and see if anyone else had any similar sightings.”

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04/17/14 2:15pm

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Photo by PoPville flickr user JoshBassett|PHOTOGRAPHYl

Home inspection fees:

“We would be very interested to know what others have been charged for a home inspection (house, not condo). We’re interested in the range of fees, high and low, not just the “best price” – it would also be useful to get a sense of how large the property was. We’re trying to do a reality check on an invoice. Thanks.”

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04/16/14 2:10pm

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Hopadidl

Notice to vacate a lease after initial term as a co-signer:

“I’m cosigned on a lease and after the initial term ended we are on month to month. I told my roommate 2 months ago that I was moving so he needed to find someone to take over the lease. He has made absolutely no progress in finding a new roommate so I am starting to worry. The lease says: …The lease automatically extends beyond the Initial Term on a month to month basis unless a party gives a termination notice as described under section 5. I would interpret “a party” to mean that I can give notice myself, and the month to month agreement would be over in 30 days, and we would have to vacate the apartment. The leasing office has continuously told me that I need my roommates signature to give the notice. This seems weird to me because what if my roommate refuses to sign the notice FOREVER?!? Not saying this would happen, I just need to know my rights because I feel that I’m being misinformed, trapped and need to find a way out. I should also mention there is a clause in the lease that I am jointly and severally liable for all obligations of the lease.”

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04/15/14 2:10pm

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Photo by PoPville flickr user number7cloud

DC Taxes – Letter requesting additional documents to verify our ID??

“My husband and I filed joint DC taxes for the first time this year (as we just got married in 2013). I am a new DC resident, but my husband is not. We rec’d a letter in the mail from the DC Government stating they received our taxes, but that to “ensure your identity is protected” we need to (each) send them any 2 of the listed documents – – DC drivers lisence issued before or during 2013, dc vehicle registration from before or during 2013, utility bill from 2013, apartment lease (if applicable) dated 2013, 2013 real property tax bill (if applicable). Additionally, they want us to provide them with the amount we listed on line 3 of a 2012 DC return (if one was filed)

Everything appears legit about the letter but neither of us have ever heard of anything like this before so before we send off copies of our documents I just wanted to see if anyone has heard of this/experienced this. We purchased a home in DC in 2013 and applied for homstead deduction, so I wondered if it might be an attempt to make sure we really are residents or something? Just seemed odd. Comments/insights welcome!”

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04/14/14 2:10pm

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Photo by PoPville flickr user mixedeyes

Random DCRA inspection?

“Came home to a flyer on our door from DCRA saying they had come by and “attempted to inspect” our house–and we should call to reschedule. Anyone ever hear of that? Do they random inspect or would someone have called them? We’ve had some painting recently done and repairs to our staircase but nothing that seemed to need permitting, and nothing that has irritated neighbors to the best of our knowledge. I’m on good terms with them all (I think). Strikes me as very odd (also because they note a different address than our house–it’s a corner and used to have doors on both streets but they used the old address that no longer has a door and isn’t the official address). Anyone hear of a scam this way? Wondering if I should call to reschedule or ignore.”

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04/11/14 2:15pm

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Photo by PoPville flickr user JRoseC

Chinese herbalist:

“Does anyone know of a Chinese herbalist doctor? Someone once told me there is a good herbalist doctor in Chinatown, does anyone know who he/she/they could be?”

Running groups in Petworth??

“I just move to Petworth and am hoping there is a run group that meets up nearby. Ideally looking for people that are interested in a couple shorter (3-4 miles) runs during the week and a longer run on the weekends. Please let me know if you know of such a group or if you live in the area and are interested in finding some running buddies. I am a 10-min miler.”

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04/10/14 2:15pm

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Photo by PoPville flickr user ekelly80

Noise from Blind Whino:

“I’m wondering if anyone has advice about handling noise from new establishments. I live in SW, close (but not too close!) to Blind Whino, an art gallery that opened last fall. I live next to the highway, so it’s not as if I have high standards when it comes to ambient noise. The noise coming from the gallery between 10 pm – 2 am this week, since the spring reopening, has been unbearable. Patrons screaming and shouting, music that makes my window panes vibrate, etc. What recourse do neighbors have in dealing with noise from establishments like this?

The police are aware of the gallery and are often parked directly outside, but haven’t seemed to control the noise much. I see people with beers around the gallery, so they probably have a license from ABRA, which might be another way to go about it.”

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04/09/14 2:15pm

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Photo by PoPville flickr user blueiris2006

Water Hammer problem:

“We have recently noticed a pretty serious sounding water hammer when we flush one of our upstairs toilets (3 story renovated rowhouse in Petworth). We have only noticed it for the last 6 weeks or so, but we must admit that does not mean it was not happening earlier, it may have been and just gotten louder to the point we noticed.

We have tried all the do-it-yourself tricks. First we drained the whole system and restarted, and it went away for about 2 flushes. Then we tried decreasing the water flow in to the tank, but no real change occurred on the water hammer.

Has any one dealt with this? Do you suggest we call a plumber? I am not sure how damaging this sort of thing can be. I see mixed reviews online about water hammer arrestors, and I am not sure one would help in our case as the sound does NOT seem to come from anywhere near the toilet/bathroom walls but from someplace else in adjacent walls. It is usually 2-3 loud bang/clunk sounds immediately post flush.

I welcome any advice from folks who have dealt with this before as the sound is increasingly disconcerting, but we are a bit afraid of calling someone in to only get taken advantage of if this is not actually that big a deal or there is some other trick we should have tried. We are also scared they will have to tear up a significant portion of our house to find the offending pipes, and we are expecting a baby in June so not an ideal time for chaos….

Thank you for any advice!”

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04/08/14 2:13pm

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Photo by PoPville flickr user jsmjr

Rental application identity theft concern – what can we do?

“Filled out a rental application with a lot of PII, then owner says they “went with another applicant.” The timing makes everything seem very fishy and now we’re concerned with identity theft. Is there anything we can/should be doing? More information below:

Found a rental on craiglist and met with the owner last week. We indicated that we wanted to take the place and they agreed to stop showing it to other people. The following day they sent along the rental application and the lease. We asked if we could provide pay stubs, our current landlord’s reference, and bank account statements in lieu of the full application. They did not respond for three days. We called on Saturday to ask what was going on and they indicated that we should fill out the full application and things could move forward. Sent the application this morning (Monday) and immediately received an email saying they “went with another applicant.” SO called them this afternoon, but the call was sent to voice mail.

We had a walk through of the unit, we verified their employment, and did other bits of Google stalking that led us to believe they were legitimate. Our take home pay is over 400% of the monthly rent, we have no debt, and we have a good relationship with our current landlord, so we can’t imagine they’d have a problem with the application. Can the Office of the Tenant Advocate help? Should we file a police report? Would love any advice.”

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04/07/14 2:15pm

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Photo by PoPville flickr user carolinejangelo

Patio Installation — Attached Rowhouse/No Alley Access:

“I’ve got a CoHi rowhouse with typical postage stamp-sized backyard (maybe 12′ x 10′?), which I’d like to rehabilitate with a low maintenance, eco-friendly makeover: remove existing brick and grass combo and replace it with permeable pavers. Adequate drainage is key, so I figure some topsoil and bricks have to come out, with crushed stone/sand/pavers coming in and layered properly. Here’s the rub: everything has to come in and out through the front door, as there’s no alley access. Has anyone tackled a project like this? If so, recommendation for a contractor (I definitely don’t want to tackle this DIY)? And how long would it take to complete, start to finish? Cost?”

Mini-split Ductless Air Conditioning System Install:

“Has anyone had a mini-split ductless air conditioning system installed? I know this topic has been on the forum before (and featured on the front page) but I haven’t seen any recommendations from anyone that has actually had the system installed. I have a relatively small attached rowhouse (1040 sq. feet) with no ductwork. Anyone have a similar house that has had a mini-split ductless installed and can recommend a reasonably priced and reliable company?”

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