“It has come to my attention recently that a multitude of squatters have broken into and have been living in an uninhabited house on Perry Pl, NW”

by Prince Of Petworth October 28, 2016 at 12:45 pm 25 Comments

14th and Perry Pl, NW

“Dear PoPville,

It has come to my attention recently that a multitude of squatters have broken into and have been living in an uninhabited house on Perry Pl, NW in between 14th and Holmead streets. For the most part, they seem to be heavy day drinkers and are all adults. One of the men seen lingering behind this building, and seems to be a squatting resident, was the victim set on fire by two assailants near Otis and 14th NW last Saturday night. Another man, potentially unrelated to the group, was picked up by EMS this morning having a grand mal seizure in the alley by the building around 6:45-7am. While my heart goes out to these men, I wonder if the crimes against them may have been interpersonal. The current owner of the home is simply listed as a trust, with a contact number that has been disconnected. My hopes, by posting this, is that the owners of this trust may see this, as it may prevent further victims, and, at the very least, inform the owners that their property has many people currently living in it.”

  • textdoc

    The OP should get his/her ANC rep, MOCR (Mayor’s Office of Community Relations) rep, and MPD lieutenant on this, if he/she hasn’t done so already.
    I seriously doubt that a trust with a disconnected phone number is going to be actively monitoring PoPville, neighborhood listserves, etc.

    • Phoebe

      Concur. This happened near me once; I alerted my Council member who got DCRA to board up the house.

    • Bryan

      Or, if developer is unwilling to either sell the house, rent the house, or do anything to the house….to continue letting squatters who in fact can use the house right now. It seems you have not been personally affected by them. Let it go.

      • Anonymous

        You are joking, right? First, it’s a trust on the deed, not a developer. Second, it’s likely also a vacant property, in which case DC can do something about it. Third, this is not just a group of people inhabiting an otherwise empty house; they are victims and perpetrators of crimes, which affects us all.

      • SW 20011

        Yeah, nothing bad happens in abandoned homes!


      • Colhi

        You do know that all of our houses are connected right? When it gets cold and one of these guys decides to set a fire to stay warm, you could lose a whole block of houses. This is an asinine statement.

      • wdc

        Do you know what happens when people try to live in a house with no utilities, Bryan? They have to find non-electric sources of heat and light.
        Have you ever seen a house fire, Bryan? How about a ROWhouse fire? Ever seen that, Bryan?

        • textdoc

          And no utilities presumably means no running water, which means no flushing toilets, which means that human excrement may be an issue.

        • MsSunshine

          I have photos and videos of the rowhouse fire on my block (which caught part of my house), if you need visual aids.

  • neighbor
    • Colhi

      +1 I know people hate on DCRA but I have had amazing service in getting an abandoned house next to me boarded up. DCRA also does maintenance and keeps up the property on a regular basis. It’s also really important to make sure an empty house is being taxed at an abandoned rate. The only way to get rid of these types of places is to get them into a tax sale situation. Taxing the hell out of them will make it move faster. Also, any time DCRA does maintenance (cuts grass, cleans, etc.) they charge the homeowner which adds to the tax bill.

      • wdc

        Yep, this worked really well for us. The inspectors fined the shit out of the absentee owner, such that he was forced to sell his flophouse to developers, and now we have neighbors who do not harass my friends and who have working smoke detectors.

        • anon6

          I agree the vacant/blighted tax rate works well in expediting the sale of the property in cases where the owner is alive and there aren’t any other complicating factors. When the owner is dead and the property is stuck in probate because the living relatives are fighting over the owner’s assets, then in some cases the tax bill will balloon to a huge sum. And then the fighting relatives don’t care about the property anymore (or the enormous tax bill that goes along with it), and the property decays further.

          • Accountering

            Tough luck, I don’t really feel bad for a bunch of out of staters fighting over an estate, when it means that they house they are fighting over is turning into blight. I have no problem letting the bill blow up, and then taking the house from the estate if necessary. The worlds smallest violin is played for heirs fighting over their parents house and a huge windfall while they let it decay and hurt someone elses neighborhood.

          • anon6

            Accountering- Totally agree, but the problem is that when the tax bill balloons to a certain dollar figure, neither the fighting relatives nor an investor at a tax sale will be willing to pay off the tax bill to put the property back into productive use. And then the property just sits and decays because nobody wants to touch it.

          • Anonymous

            anon6, no, when the tax bill balloons, the city auctions it off to somebody that has to use the house as a primary residence.

          • textdoc

            I think anon6 is correct — as far as I’m aware, vacant properties with huge tax bills don’t automatically get auctioned off by the city. (Maybe there’s a certain dollar cutoff and/or time cutoff?) And until/unless that happens, they can create huge problems fr their neighbors. I remember one such property being talked about at a Ward 1 Rat Summit a few years ago.

  • jaanku

    I’m currently dealing with a similar issue in my neighborhood. There is someone living in a house that DCRA has labeled as vacant/blighted. However, according to the DCRA rep that I’ve been working with there is nothing they can do. he told me that squatter’s rights in DC are strongly in favor of the squatter and there’s not really anything anyone can do about it short of getting MPD involved. I’m not saying whether his opinion is actually true, just relaying what was told to me.

    • also anon

      This is weird. I have trouble believing that there are squatter’s rights in a place like DC where housing is so valuable/limited.

      • Anon Spock

        Trust me they exist. They kicked in on an ex who let a good long-term tenant stay a month to get on her feet after losing a job. Not only could she not get kicked out after 30 days, ex had to provide heat and hot water and ultimately eat the months of unpaid rent.

        • also anon

          I know renter’s rights in DC are really strong but to me squatters that break into a vacant building aren’t the same as a renter.

    • Anon Spock

      Once squatters rights kick in, mpd will not remove the person. Learned from the situation I mentioned below.

  • Anonymous

    There was a house next to me that was vacant for a time after the tenants had been evicted. The police actually told me to call 911 every time I saw somebody go in or out since they were trespassing…

  • Stink Eye

    There are alot of vacant properties in this area. It seems a wave of development is coming through though which will hopefully lead to some of the vacant properties being redeveloped.

  • Anon

    Wrong corner, old picture!


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