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Photo by PoPville flickr user Jim Havard

Limited Supply of Hot Water/Short Shower Issues:

“We just moved into a new building in Shaw (Jefferson Marketplace) and are having an issue with our hot water. We live in a two bedroom, two bath apartment with a washer/dryer and dishwasher. Each unit apparently has its own hot water heater, and the installed system only has enough hot water for a single short shower (under 5 minutes) before losing temperature. The system will recharge with enough hot water for another short shower after 30-45 minutes. There’s not nearly enough hot water in the system to run the dishwasher or washer at the same time as a shower – but that’s more than what I am requesting. I just want a normal length shower and for both me and my fiancee to be able to get ready around the same time in the morning.

The maintenance supervisor has come and raised the temperature of the water heater 3 times already but, both he and the property manager live in the building and acknowledge the problem and have said the entire building is dealing with this. However, the property manager has said that the units passed inspection with the water heater units installed and that “once the weather breaks, the water coming into the building will be at a warmer temperature aiding in the duration of hot water.” I’m not optimistic that the management company will be doing anything to fix the problem.

What is our recourse for this situation? My understanding is that, under DC landlord/tenant law, landlords must provide tenants with “reasonable amounts of hot water.” This clearly doesn’t seem reasonable to me. If we are entitled to a rent abatement, great, but I really just want this fixed. Having just moved, we’d really not want to move again so quickly. Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks!”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user brunofish

Painting a rowhouse in Columbia Heights:

“We plan on painting over the current peach-y color of our brick rowhouse in Columbia Heights. Just the front.

Any suggestions for painting companies? Does anyone know a rough estimate of what this will cost us?

Additionally, has anyone ever DIY-ed it themselves and have tips to share?”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Miki J.

Looking for a meeting space for about 35 people:

“I’m helping to organize a mid-year retreat for my office. We would need daytime meeting space for about 35 people.

Does anyone know of a good space that will fit into a non-profit budget? Hotels are OK, but it’s hard to weigh through the options.”

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Suggestions for a 30th Birthday Party, Not a Bar or a Brunch:

“I am looking to plan a 30th birthday party with 10-20 male and female attendees. It’s this month, so ideally nothing in the frozen tundra outside. I’d also like to avoid going to a noisy bar or doing brunch. I’ve considered karaoke (are we too old/sober for that?) or something active in the suburbs (go-karting or trampolining). Anyone have suggestions?”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user hellomarkers!

Venue for rehearsal dinner, we have our own catering!:

“Does anyone know a venue we could secure for 40-50ish people for a rehearsal dinner? We would really, really like to serve DCity Smokehouse, but I am having trouble finding a gathering place that would let us bring in our own catering. This would be on Friday, Sept 4., 2015.

Anyone have a suggestion? Thank you!!!”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Jacques Arsenault

DC towed me to metered parking, then charged me for not paying the meter:

“I was wondering if anyone else had had this happen to them or could give me advice. I parked on K St NE in the early afternoon, completely missing that it becomes a rush hour no parking zone after 4:30 (definitely my fault). So I got two $100 tickets, one for the illegal parking, one for the tow to another location. I didn’t find out I had been towed until I went back to get my car at 11 pm that night; I tried to find the location it had been towed to online, but the system was down. So I called the next morning around 9 am, then went to get my car–but it had been towed to a meter, so I had two additional $25 tickets for illegal meter parking starting at 7:15 am that morning. Can DC charge me for illegal parking at a location I didn’t choose? And if I fight the second two tickets, any suggestions on how to frame the situation or substantiate my case? Thanks in advance–it just really irks me to get 4 tickets for one violation.”
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Photo by PoPville flickr user Rich Renomeron

Do I need a permit?:

“We are thinking of changing a window into a door and a door into a window in one of our bedrooms. We would basically like to flip where the window and door are. Is a permit needed for this type of work? Also, does anyone have a recommendation for a contractor? Thanks in advance.”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Michael Hicks

ISO of Tiny Backyard Designer:

“This pre-Spring weather has us in the mood to decide what to do with our small backyard. The full renovation of our rowhouse is nearly (maybe) complete, leaving us with an even smaller dirt patch than we had before. We’d like to create a green urban oasis (or at least a welcoming place to sit and look at some plants and flowers!) We’re looking for someone who is good with outdoor design of small spaces. We’re not necessarily looking for builder, or at least not yet. We just want to see what is possible with what we’ve got. Any suggestions? Thank you!”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user T. Mertens

What was sprayed on streets last night?:

“It smells like miso or chicken broth. And made a mess of cars.Any insight?”

Another reader writes via email:

“I took my dog for his morning walk and noticed a strong sewage odor on the street, Rock Creek Church Road NW (between Shepherd Street and 5th Street). Two other people on the street commented on the strong sewage odor. Then I noticed that all the cars parked on the street, including mine, were spattered with a gross brown liquid. The brown liquid looked thick like tree sap that will not easily wash off.

Could this be DC’s new road “treatment” for the sleet forecast for this afternoon? Do you know if it is safe? Upon closer inspection, the main road was definitely dark and wet looking and the side streets remained dry. Do you have any idea what this brown sewage smelling stuff is? Unfortunately, it tracks into folks homes on the bottom of shoes and pets feet.”

Ed. Note: on the 4D listserve a resident noted a “beet juice mixture is sometimes used as a de-icing agent for the roads”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user wolfpackWX

Pipe burst, flooded apt. What can I demand as a tenant?:

“Please help if you have any experience or legal knowledge with issues like severe flood damage to your apartment (as a tenant.) Landlords: feel free to chime in, too.

Really stressed out here and seeking advice! :(

Question: What can I expect for compensation for the trouble of being displaced out of my home?
Backstory: Pipe burst Saturday 2/21 late at night. I came home to discover 3 inches of standing water in my bedroom, and also in 2nd bedroom (roommate was out of town). Water came from a pipe somewhere behind the walls of the 2nd floor. It was not my fault or negligence. Landlord came as soon as he knew, and he did call contractors, (but did not admit the issue or apologize). Contractors came the following morning. The pipe that had burst was one that went to an external spigot and they had questioned why there was no valve for that pipe to prevent exactly this kind of situation. (In other words, implying he is to blame for not ensuring that precaution.) Damage: mostly structural– all carpeting, walls, and ceiling, insulation, and some piping needs to be re-done. Personal Damage: clothes, shoes, documents/books, furniture.

Total time for repairs: Minimum 14 days. It is an absolute mess right now. Carpet has been ripped up but the place is not dry yet which means they haven’t put up the new drywall.

Landlord found us temporary housing but is not offering any more. He frequently resists our requests. As a result, both my roommate and I had to scramble to find accommodation, and he is not even sure when the repairs will be done.

Some may argue that pipes freeze as a result of Mother Nature — or God?– and so it unfortunately is something unexpected and should be treated like an accident.

My concern: Many people have differing views and advice on this. After calling DC Tenant Rights Office, they said if he accommodated us, then I am still required to pay rent. Now he is not accommodating us.
Do we simply pay a pro-rated event (calculated per diem), or can I also add on costs of inconvenience such as getting cabs to transport my belongings, a day off work for the trouble of moving belongings and finding alternative housing? What about utilities?

At this point I am rambling but just have so much burden on my brain.
Please put in your thoughts, ESPECIALLY if you have been through this or KNOW your rights.

Many thanks!”

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