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“Councilmember Anita Bonds Bill Targets Slumlords”

by Prince Of Petworth May 5, 2016 at 4:00 pm 7 Comments

Boarded Up Houses 9th St from 2009

Thanks to a reader for passing on the press release from CM Bonds’ office:

“Rightfully, there has been significant media attention paid to apartment buildings and rental units throughout the District that have landlords who appear to have purposefully neglected their properties, putting the health, security, and well-being of tenants in jeopardy. These unscrupulous owners are commonly known as “Slumlords.”

Today, May 3, At-Large Councilmember Anita Bonds, Chairperson of the Committee on Housing and Community Development introduced legislation that will strengthen the District’s ability to combat this neglect and provide the legal tools to efficiently and quickly go after slumlords.

The “The Rental Housing Accommodation Nuisance Abatement Amendment Act of 2016” allows the US Attorney for the District of Columbia, the DC Attorney General, or any community-based organization to file an action in the DC Superior Court to terminate, instruct, or prevent any rental housing accommodation that has operated in a pattern of neglect for a period of 30 consecutive days that constitutes a health, safety, or security hazard to the tenants. Additionally, the bill authorizes the DC Attorney General to issue subpoenas related to nuisance properties.

“Tenants deserve a quality place to live and we must use every available mechanism to protect housing accommodations to ensure safe and quality living conditions for all DC residents,” stated Councilmember Bonds at the bill’s introduction.

Many problems of these substandard living conditions include unsecured doors, broken heating and air conditioning, infestation, vermin and trash, dim lighting, faulty plumbing, and vacant units that were being used by outsiders for illicit activity.

The legislation was co-sponsored by Councilmembers Evans, Cheh, Todd, May, Orange and Grosso.”

  • textdoc

    I’m not clear what this bill does. What does “terminate, instruct, or prevent . . . rental housing accommodation” entail? If it “terminates rental housing accommodation,” does it re-house the displaced tenants?

    • jcm

      The current system requires tenants to appeal to DCRA to do an inspection and issue housing code violations. DCRA isn’t very good at this enforcement, and they often don’t do a good job at follow up, or compelling landlords to make repairs. Bonds’s bill will allow lots of people (AG, US Attorney, tenant’s rights groups, etc) to sue in Superior Court on behalf of the tenants, and the court can order the landlord to make repairs.

      • textdoc

        Thanks for the translation/clarification.

  • Kingman Park

    Where’s the pic from the post from? I’ve seen it plenty of times but have no idea.

    • Dan

      The picture looks like East Baltimore.

    • jcm

      It’s somewhere on 9th St NW, taken back in 2008.

    • neighbor

      Back of houses on the 1500 block of 9th Street NW next to Shiloh. They’re no longer boarded up.

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