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Dear PoP – Eviction Dumping

DSC00304(bright), originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

Photo above from an eviction two years ago on Sherman Ave.

“Hey PoP,

In this present economic slowdown, I’ve noticed an uptick in evictions recently, seeing the sad sight of people’s entire households unceremoniously dumped out on the sidewalk. I understand and respect the right of property owners to remove tenants who don’t pay their rent or otherwise violate their contractual obligations, but what gives them the right to dump the content of a household on public space? In some cases, I’ve seen children playing with dangerous materials taken off of these eviction piles and wondered, “what if that child (or anyone) gets hurt due to this dumping?” I would imagine the landlords would be liable for damages…

Every jurisdiction (DC included) regulates dumping, even on private property. When sidewalks (public space) and front lawns (usually both public and private space) are covered with couches, bookcases, TVs, lamps, clothes, etc, the rights of everyone are violated.

If property owners find themselves in a situation where they must evict a tenants, they should be required to place the tenants’ household contents in storage for a period of time and, after a contractually specified period, these items could be lawfully taken to the dump. Dumping on public, or non-zoned private property, and thus impinging of the rights of everyone in a community, should never be allowed.

I’m wondering if anyone else has had experience dealing with this issue or has interacted with the DC government about it. I’d like to see the community take a stand to stop illegal dumping in all forms, including eviction dumping.”

Have other folks witnessed a lot more evictions recently? Have you seen the type of dumping the reader talks about?

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