Dear PoPville – Is This Necessary on a 100 degree day?

by Prince Of Petworth July 13, 2011 at 2:30 pm 85 Comments

16th and Sheridan St, NW

“Dear PoPville,

I was in a great mood coming off the bus and walking home, when this sight stopped me dead in my tracks. The photo may not show it too well, but this is an entire contents of someones apartment out on the sidewalk. On one of the hottest days of the year. Instinctively I snapped a photo real quick, without focusing too much on the discarded items, before it upset me too much.

Now I know people have to pay their rent, and I don’t mean to come across as a bleeding-heart liberal, but I just don’t see the justification for this on such a hot day.”

  • M

    Don’t feel bad. Grow a pair.

    • Suitland


  • MichelleRD

    I think there’s a rule prohibiting eviction at low temperature, but not high.

  • Kalorini

    A storm’s coming in soon, too. I hope they know their stuff is out there and can get it into storage asap.

    • elcal

      as in right now.

  • Anonymous

    If it got to this point, they had plenty of warnings and opportunities to get their act together. DC is *very* friendly towards tenants.

    • Tres

      Yup. They probably got a couple months’ rent free before this eviction happened. I’m not sure why we should be all that sympathetic toward the evictee — they could have moved out months ago and avoided summer temperatures.

      • Holmead

        It is a sad situation but having done some L & T work I can tell you that tenant’s in the district get a ton of notice before an actual eviction occurs. In this case, they probably had nowhere to go.

        • Veronika

          [ 1 ] Ethiopian Immigrants Evicted From 81 Florida Avenue NW: Emergency Housing Needed

          See this 7/11/2011 message from ANC 5C04 Commissioner Hugh Youngblood:

          Neighborhood Family in Need of Emergency Housing

          This morning the family living at 81 Florida Avenue NW fell victim to a reckless and abusive landlord who was taking monthly rent payments in cash from them and failing to pay the mortgage with the proceeds. As a result, the Marshall evicted the family of seven Ethiopian immigrants this morning and moved their belongings onto the street.

          I met with the patriarch of the family several times today to discuss solutions. He was very distraught about how something like this could happen in the land of opportunity. Luckily, the family has moved all their possessions into the homes of friends. What they need now is a one-bedroom apartment to rent asap–today/tonight. They have cash to continue to pay the rent.

          If you have an extra room for rent and would love to earn a little short-term cash, please call me so that I can refer the message.

          Thank you,

          Hugh Youngblood

          Commissioner, SMD 5C03

          240 925 1079

          anc5c03 @ gmail.com

          • Rukasu

            This is illegal. The same thing happened to me, the bank or whoever else assume control of the propert cannot force you out without 60-90days notice. No one can force you from your home over their landlord’s misdeeds. Contact the Office of Tenant Advocate http://ota.dc.gov/ota/site/default.asp

          • Anonymous

            If that email is accurately and truthfully describing what happened (which is a big if), then the eviction was totally illegal.

          • Rukasu

            But then again paying in cash is also not wise…

          • Former Lawyer

            Unfortunately, there’s something about this that doesn’t ring true. That a landlord defaulted on the mortgage has little short-term effect on a tenant. The bank can eventually force a tenant out, but only under the same circumstances as every other landlord out there: failure to pay rent, lease violation, conversion to personal use, etc.

            Where I see a kernel of truth is the rent in cash thing. It’s possible that the family never got receipts and therefore can’t prove that they paid the rent (which is an absolute defense to a nonpayment eviction), but no eviction is sudden. This family would have had months to fight in court and request a jury trial.

            It’s a terrible situation for this family, but the story as told doesn’t seem possible.

          • MtP

            This land of Opportunity is also the land of Get a Receipt When You Pay Cash.

          • A

            I heard this story on WAMU this morning, so assuming they check out their sources, it is true. Very unfortunate.

      • Anonymous

        “got a couple months’ rent free”,


        in the District of Columbia more like a year’s rent, attorney’s fees, court costs, magistrate’s writ of eviction, U.S. Marshall, eviction crew, city permits, ten to twenty grand easy and common.

        • Anonymous

          Marshal. Sorry, they’re my employer and it’s become a pet peeve, so I’ve accordingly become anal about that spelling mistake.

      • stella

        they could have been living there without paying rent for six to twelve months before the city finally ordered an eviction. tenant-friendlyness in DC is great for tenants, sucks for good landlords, and gives tenants ample opportunity to get their ish together.

    • Anonymous


    • Native American JD in DC

      My neighbor across the hall was left an eviction notice. I’m not sweating it, I’d rather have a responsible tenant living across the hall from me.

  • AG

    It’s how we treat people who can’t or don’t pay their rent in D.C. We throw their stuff on the sidewalk and let other people pick through it until and unless they can do something with it themselves. I always thought it was a bit heartless. But then again, I guess the taxpayers don’t want to have to pay for other people’s storage.

    • Trixie

      How is it heartless? They could’ve paid their rent and NOT SCREWED SOMEONE ELSE OVER, and then that wouldn’t have happened. It’s not like they aren’t warned.

  • anon

    I’m sure the renter had many months to pay their rent or move out. I mostly feel bad for the workers having to move all the crap out in the heat.

    • hauntedteacozy

      same here. i feel much worse for the people who had to haul all that stuff out.

      also – how do you know the tenant didn’t die? that’s a possibility, too. or skipped town. i’ve done that.

      • Veronika

        you feel badly for the people who had to haul it away, but you’ve ducked out on your rent and skipped town??? whaaaaat?

        • elcal

          I think they mean they’ve died before (hence, ‘haunted’).

          • hauntedteacozy

            exactly. died before…

            and who is to say criminals dont feel sorry for their victims. but damn, you gotta get the work done. rent isnt gonna skip itself.

    • MichelleRD

      Uh no, don’t feel badly for them. Unless things have changed in the 15 years or so when a neighbor of mine was evicted, the men hired by the Marshall service for evictions take whatever valuables they can hide on their persons.

      • anon

        I bet Raylan Givens wouldn’t do that!

        • Cait B

          Ha! That made me smile. We’re just watching season one now.

      • Angry Parakeet

        The cheated landlord hires and pays for the eviction crew (or hustles relatives and friends to help)- the Marshalls only document that the required number of workers were hired (so the process goes quickly) and their social security numbers. Anyway that’s how it was when a friend had to evict a tenant who owed 6 months’ rent and went through the legal process which took another 2 months.

  • caballero

    How hot is too hot for you? What about the dew point? Should we factor in the wind? How about cloud cover? Rain probability?

    Somebody is way behind on their rent and got tossed out. Too bad it happened on a hot day, but hey, life ain’t fair.

  • Anonymous

    this is why America s going to shit. We’re so f*cking soft. “waaaaaaaaaaaah it’s hot out, you don’t have to pay rent.”

    a liberal

    • caballero

      Damn straight. For years, I have been complaining about Americans getting soft. DC, in particular, seems to be filling up with sissies.

      • Anonymous

        i guess you called it, winner.

    • me


  • Veronika

    i really hope these aren’t the belongings of the family that got “evicted” after the landlord used their on-time cash monthly rent payments to NOT pay the mortgage, thus getting them booted from their home. they are looking for a place now. PoP, I’ll forward the information. Perhpas someone here knows of a 1 bedroom available for rent. Maybe M @ 2:32pm or Anonymous @ 2:36 may be able to offer suggestions since they seem so righteous.

    • Anonymous

      DC law is very good about protecting tenants’ rights in the case of foreclosure. If you’ve been paying your rent on time, you can’t be evicted, even if the landlord hasn’t been paying the mortgage.

    • rooty tooty

      The tenants listed in that email were at 81 Florida Ave. The photo here is labeled 16th & Sheridan.

    • SickandTiredLiberal

      I call B*** S***. Have you ever spent a day in Landlord Tenant court? If anyone has, they know it is NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE even for a Foreclosing Bank to get tenants out of a place in DC without a minimum 6 month process. Aside from that there are so many regulations on giving notice, kicking out tenants etc. There is a lot more to this situation, and no judge will have them kicked out just like that, and the Marshall are only out there is the Judge asks them to.

  • GDopplerXT

    Ah, come on. I feel as much sympathy for people getting evicted as one can without knowing the actual circumstances, but I don’t see what the weather has to do with anything.

  • anon

    So by that logic your employer need not pay you, depending on the weather?

    • Anonymous

      if you sell sunshine, then yes.

      • TaylorStreetMan

        I don’t have to sell or buy it; it shoots out my arse!

        • Anonymous


          • TaylorStreetMan

            I’m in a weird mood today…

  • JMC

    Laws are laws.

    “District of Columbia Law and Superior Court Rules prohibit the execution of evictions when a 50% or greater chance of precipitation is forecasted for the next 24 hours. Additionally, if the weather forecast calls for temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit over the next 24 hours, evictions other than those designated as Commercial Property will be canceled.”


  • The Man

    It takes a llloooooooooooonnnnngg time to get to this point. That’s a lot of dereliction by the resident. Note to people who feel bad without knowing any details: If you do not pay rent for some months, start making arrangements for your essential possessions. That’s a PERFECTLY GOOD computer monitor. Not to mention the white plastic…thing.

    • Angry Parakeet

      The stuff looks like garbage – the residents appear to be hoarders. Remember the woman on Otis last year that made the news? None of this looks like family goods – I helped move a hoarder once and this is what the items looked like. Out of date things, dirty boxes of useless things.

  • Mambo Sauce

    Did you see any good side tables in that pile? Email me.

  • anon

    It’s not an eviction – it’s an urban street sculpture.

  • rabble

    alright, so with the restriction on the books about not being able to evict if it is too cold, if we add the restriction that you can’t evict on a hot day, we’ve limited the eviction window for DC to the months of october and march.

  • what

    If the writer feels that badly about it, instead of whining to a blog s/he could go out and rent a small u-haul and wait for the evictee to return home. Let them move in with you, see how long before you throw their stuff out on the curb.

  • Ryan

    Shouldn’t we feel bad for the landlord? If this guy wasn’t paying his rent, he was essentially stealing from the landlord.

    • Yup

      +1. also renters who fail to pay rent and take advantage of the strong tenant protection laws make rents all the more expensive for reliable tenants. additionally, irresponsible tenants, and tenant protection laws, make it difficult for everyone without a rental history, or parents who can act as guarantors, to get approved for a desirable apartment. i would imagine that at least some of these people are the sorts of people that “liberals” who support strong tenant protection think they are protecting.

    • Tobin

      Thank you….all I can think of is given DC rent laws, I wonder how long the landlord went without rent for it to get to this point. And to the OP, if you feel so bad, take them in and see how long that lasts.

  • Uh Huh

    What do you think would be the optimal temperature? Or day of week? Or time of day. Evictions are never neat and clean. Why? Well, because they are so easily avoided. I’ve never been behind on my rent. But if I did, I’d move before getting evicted.

  • Anonymous

    two messed up things about this:

    1.) The Black Bentley in the picture
    2.) OP should stick around and wait for the VULCHERS to circle and begin picking through this family’s possessions. now, THAT is a sight to behold.

    • Jim Ed

      granted, the picture is small so I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure thats a Dodge Charger that someone put a Bentley grill in. Its what we like to call “Ballin on a Budget.”

      • photodork

        Yup, Dodge Charger with a billet grille. And a base charger to boot (no fog lights).

        I think I see some 20″ dips there, should’ve spent the cash on the Hemi.

  • commodore 64

    sweet computer.

  • Raul

    I have sympathy for folks in unfortunate circumstances like this but they had PLENTY of notice, laws are with them, so this is the consequence. I’m sure they’ll be filing for section 8 and living for free soon enough.

    As for it being so hot out? I don’t get it at all, I’m liberal but still don’t understand what you think should’ve happened??

  • Razman

    the OP is a hippie

  • joker

    This person had, at a absolute minimum with all the prescribed document time frames, court actions and mandated waiting periods, 6 months to prepare for this. They probably had been dicking with the landlord for a couple months prior.

    More likely, this renter had 8-10 months of “notice” that they were going to be evicted.

    The only victim here is the landlord.

  • Grow Some

    Do you guys realize that in order to be allowed to do this by DC Law, the newly evicted tenant had to of not been pay rent for close to a year. I don’t feel bad for them at all. What makes it worse is that they cost their landlord/building owner a fortune going hopping through hoops.

    Shut up and quit caring about everything you THINK is wrong. Go read up and you’ll see that it was no one’s fault but their OWN.

    Quit eating frog legs you frenchie

    • Cheese-chewing surrender monkey

      But zey are so tayz-TEE!

  • Im a landlord

    and let me tell you, this story is fishy. I have seen these cases take 6 months or longer to finally legally evict someone in dc. They had plenty of notice. Ever wonder why rents are so high in DC? here are some reasons:1) if your place in a decent enough neigbhorhood the landlord is going to do everyting possible to screen a “loser” out because they know they will lose about 5k trying to take you to court and evict your dumb a–…that gets factored into costs passed on to you. (Blame your council for that) I wouldn’t rent to anyone with less than 720 credit and thats only if I am desperate which I am not. most tenants have 815 plus that I rent to 2) sky rocketing property tax assessments. Blame your council for that but that gets passed on to you too. 3) rent control doesnt create enough turnover for people who really need it thus creating an even tighter market for desperate renters trying to get into anything. Just my two cents. And fwiw, we have no idea what condition the tenants left that apt in, they could have done another 2k in damage to the place too. yet another cost that will get passed on to the next renters.
    Not trying to be unsympathetic but the owner has assumed ALL the risks yet the tenants get the free ride for a whole lot of months. They can walk away, trash the place etc because they know DC govt protects them and its not worth the hassle 95% of the time to go to court. Landlord is on the hook with bank though.

    • LisaT

      720? That seems a little high. I probably wouldn’t qualify to rent from you. I have a good job with a decent and reliable salary, but I also have a lot of student loan debt. And now a mortgage.

      Speaking of…we’re about to become landlords as well and I agree that the risk is on you as the owner. Scary what someone can do and take away from you, and how powerless you are. Yes, there are shady characters and horror stories on both sides, but the financial risk/loss is all on the owner.

      I’m actually most concerned about someone turning out to be a hoarder. Perhaps I’ve just watched too many A&E marathons, but that’s a bigger fear for me than someone not paying the rent. Have you ever dealt with that? Does anyone know if a non-hoarding clause would be legal? How could you define that? Or perhaps best to just not renew the lease after the initial lease period? But then how would you get them out?

      • Anonymous

        Agreed that 720 seems high, but if you can find tenants with credit scores that high then more power to you. I would think that by the time someone has enough credit history to get that high they’d be old and settled enough to no longer be renting.

      • Former Lawyer

        Nonrenewal doesn’t work in DC. What you have after the lease expires and isn’t renewed is an automatic month-to-month tenancy with the same conditions as the original lease.

        However, most leases have a requirement that the tenant keep the place in a decent and sanitary condition. Just keep a reasonable eye on the place and issue notices to quit for lease violations as soon as something like hoarding becomes even a small problem. Eventually, even if the tenant cleans up each time you give a notice to quit, you’ll have enough of a record to go to court with a habitual lease violation case.

        • LisaT

          Right, thanks, I was aware of the lease then month-to-month (that’s how we kept our first place in DC for 5 years), but what if you just don’t want to renew their lease and you want them out? Can you say “okay, that’s it, lease over, you go?”

          • joker

            Sure, you simply have to give them notice (I believe it may be 45 days) that you won’t be renewing their lease once its over.

            Once you have a tenant you aren’t stuck with them forever. If you need the freedom to get rid of tenants then I would only sign them up for month to month leases.

          • Former Lawyer

            No. DC only allows evictions under certain circumstances, and lease expiration isn’t one of them. The tenant has to stop paying rent, violate the lease, or engage in criminal activity; or you have to convert the unit to personal use, perform substantial rehab work that requires the tenant to leave, discontinue the use of the unit as a dwelling, or sell to someone who intends to do one of those things. In the event of personal use conversion, rehab or discontinuation of use as a dwelling, no one can rent that unit out for a period of time — I think it’s a year but it’s been a while since I checked.

            The lesson here: Be diligent in your screening.

          • LisaT

            Damn. That is good to know. Crappy, but good to have the info.

            Thanks for the free consult! :p

          • ess

            former lawyer’s on track here. even for a month-to-month lease, the landlord can’t get you out just because he feels like it. Month-to-month refers to the TENANT’S rights. The landlord still needs a valid reason to terminate the lease (personal use, lease violation, nonpayment, etc.) and must give the proper notice and wait the proper time.

  • Marcus Aurelius

    About 1% of the posts allow for the possibility that this might have been an illegal eviction; the other 99% say “good riddance to deadbeat tenants.”
    It’s always funny to see how many authoritative posts are made regarding situations about which people have no firsthand information. And how many of those posts presume the worst.

  • AC

    Nobody considered that this could simply be a couple splitting up and one of the two throwing everything out to the street in a (very) upset moment?

    • sucka

      no one considered that possibility because it’s a pretty stupid conclusion to reach.

  • Ryan

    Nobody even considered the possibility that this was a garage sale and not an eviction.

  • Anonymous

    “…it upset me too much,

    …I don’t mean to come across as a bleeding-heart liberal, but I just don’t see the justification for this on such a hot day.”

    And if instead of a hot day in July, if it were January with snow on the ground you’d be whining about it being too cold on such a wintery day.”

    Grow up. Get real.

    If you lost $10 to $20K on a deadbeat who took advantage of the city’s one sided tenant’s rights oriented landlord and tenant justice system you might feel differently.

    Tenants have all the rights, landlords all the responsibilities.

    Fewer and fewer are willing to be a residential landlord within this inhospitable collectivist jurisdiction and thus the high cost of finding a place to rent in D.C. Simply, supply and demand.

    • SickandTiredLiberal


  • Anonymous

    Month to month residential lease means nothing in an apartment building.

    Residential leases in the District of Columbia have become life estates so long as the rent is paid, and the D.C. government’s rental accommodations office determines the amount of rent.

  • Whatever yo

    I was a landlord in D.C. Never again. I got lucky and was able to take possession of MY property again because the tenants abandoned the house. That was after illegally turning on the water, which prompted the water company to come remove the meter, which then prompted the gas company to come turn the gas off to the water heater, and shitting in all the (unflushable because there was no water!) toilets, sinks and on the floors.

    To sum up, if it came to their stuff laying on the curb, they likely haven’t paid rent for AT LEAST six months, and got a gazillion notices and warnings.

    Hot nor no, I can’t feel sorry for these folks.

  • Anonymous

    in VA its 30 days and your out if the Landlord wants you out, if DC gets rid of its BS tenant laws that enable criminals and derelicts, it would have fewer criminals and derelicts. Best thing you can do when a derelict tenant won’t get out is what i did, wait until they are out, call a locksmith and change all the locks to 2 sided locked bolt locks…that usually brings em to the surface! Helps to have bars on the windows at this point…

  • Analnymous

    LOL. Don’t you see the fan on the sidewalk? No electricity? Hand crank it!


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