Dear PoP – Neighbor’s House Overcrowded – Moral Dilemma

Photo by PoPville flickr user ianseanlivingston

“Dear PoP,

I live in a row house and its come to my attention that the owner of the house on one side of me is renting out his 3 br 2 bath home out to 12 people. I know this because several of the residents have been open about the living arraignment and I have been inside the house several times and seen the beds placed throughout the home. Those renters that I have gotten to know are truly kind, considerate people just trying to get by, but the problem is that 1) the owner is negligent and treats them like dirt (refusing to fix AC in the summer, etc), and 2) the the overcrowding has had negative consequences which affect myself and our other neighbors.

Recently myself and the neighbor on the other side of this house noticed an infestation of roaches. We remedied this (at least temporarily) by convincing the owner to spay his home, but its clear that a crowded situation w/ one kitchen for 12 people is going to lead to other pest issues. I let the owner know the rental regulations, that he should have be approved/permitted for renting and that the maximum for a single family home is 6 residents, but he refused to listen to me.

I am concerned that if I call DCRA and report the overcrowded, non-permitted rental, these people would be put out in the cold this winter. However, I know there are other risks (to the residents and to myself) such as increased odds of a fire, to having a so many people in a poorly maintained, non-approved rental home. Can anyone think of a good solution? Do you think DCRA would be willing to assist the people find housing or give them time to do so on their own?”

Wow, this is very sad. I don’t think DCRA is tasked with assisting people to find proper housing, rather that probably goes to some sorta social services agency. Anyone know who to call/contact in this situation to be sure that the situation is remedied but folks aren’t simply thrown on the streets?

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