Washington, DC

Dear PoP

Hey PoP,

I bought my house in Petworth almost 6 years ago and love it here. However, my neighbors have apparently abandoned their house, which is next to mine in my row, and now their backyard is overrun with rats and covered in waist high weeds. I have complained to the city, both about the rats, and about having an empty house with broken windows filled to the ceiling with trash and boxes. So far, nothing has been done and no one from the Fenty administration or any city agency has gotten back to me. Do you or anyone have any advice about how to proceed?


Fed Up


Dear Fed Up,


Man, just reading the word rat is disturbing. I’d be terribly pissed if an abandoned neighbor’s backyard was teeming with them. There was some good advice given on a previous Dear PoP about an abandoned house that you should check out. In the short term, and I know there is no justice in this recommendation, I’d mow the lawn myself or pay someone to mow the lawn. I think I’ve heard rats like the high growth so even though it is not your responsibility it may be in your best interest to do so. I would relentlessly call your ANC representative as well as Council Member Muriel Bowser’s office to see if they can help. It may be worthwhile to talk to some of your other neighbors and have them call as well. If nobody from those numbers can help email me again directly and we’ll see what other steps can be taken. Maybe we can shame the city with photographic evidence. Anyone else have any recommendations?

Good luck to you,


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