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New Bill “would increase fines for shoddy home repairs, poor construction, condemnation, and vacant properties”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Eric P.

From a press release:

“A bill introduced today [Tuesday] in the DC Council would increase fines for shoddy home repairs, poor construction, condemnation, and vacant properties. The bill from Ward 1 DC Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau doubles these fines from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and then ties them to inflation. The bill also clarifies that DCRA can use its authority to issue multiple fines for repeat violators.

“This bill is a response to what we’re hearing from constituents and news reports about outdated fines that are too low to deter bad behavior by unscrupulous contractors and developers,” said Nadeau. “Homebuyers don’t want to feel like they’re playing roulette when they’re buying a house. We need to give DCRA the tools it needs to enforce our laws and support safe housing.”

Some fines haven’t been updated in over 20 years. Under the bill, a violation such as failure to obtain a permit for building operations would change from $2,000 for the first offense to $4,000 for the first offense.

Nadeau is joined by co-introducers Councilmembers Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) and Brandon Todd (D-Ward 4), all fellow members of the Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, which has oversight of DCRA. Cosponsors are Councilmembers Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7), Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5) and Anita Bonds (D-At Large).

This bill complements Councilmember Nadeau’s successful amendment to increase the number of housing inspectors at DCRA. Taken together, they create more powerful enforcement and ultimately safer housing conditions across the District. In February, Councilmembers Nadeau and Orange hosted a Ward 1 Town Hall on BCRA issues at which residents shared problems with holding bad contractors accountable.

A copy of the bill is available here.

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