Washington, DC

by Prince Of Petworth November 6, 2018 at 1:15 pm 0


Photo by PoPville flickr user Victoria Pickering

“Dear PoPville,

I’m writing because, even after nearly 2 years of being out of this living situation, I am still just as outraged as I was when I left. I thought, perhaps, that time away from the situation would decrease my outrage and overall disgust, but after hearing from a tenant still in the house, I am just as mad today as was when I lived there. The rental home is unfit for tenants because the landlord has let it fall apart, and he is unfit to be a landlord due to his aggressive ways and unsettling, creepy behavior towards his female tenants.

First up: house maintenance. I lived in this house from July 2015 to March 2017 and my time there was extremely unpleasant. At first, I chalked up some of the issues around the house to it being a mildly shitty DC starter home (I was 23 when I moved in, so a less than pristine house is to be expected). It looked like the house hadn’t had a good cleaning in several years, there were dated appliances, countertops, cabinets, and some odds and ends that needed to be repaired. Then, when things started breaking, we would inform the landlord and he would come by and fix it himself, not with real tools or expertise, but with random scraps from the basement. These fixes were half ass to say the least and were the equivalent to putting a band aid on a broken leg. Below are some of the “updates” and “fixes” that occurred. Full disclosure, there were so many I can’t even begin to remember all of them, but here are a few that I can remember: (more…)

by Prince Of Petworth September 18, 2018 at 3:15 pm 0


Photo by PoPville flickr user Caroline Angelo

“Dear PoPville,

In paying the bills for my small condo building this month I noticed our water bill was $160 more than our usual bill. When I called DC Water initially on Friday, the representative noted extreme usage over the course of 4 days in August and directed me to the meter reading portion of their site and suggested I set up an alert system in the event of future aberrations. To outline the difference in usage a little clearer, over the course of said 4 days the building had apparently used the same amount of water we usually consume in a full month.

I flagged the issue for the other owners in the building and asked if anyone noticed anything funny happening, I was out of town for the exact dates but my roommate did not note anything out of the ordinary. I heard back from the other owners and it turns out the tenants in two of the units were out of town (one set was gone for almost all of August) and the third owner was personally out of town but his girlfriend was home and didn’t notice anything weird either. (more…)

by Prince Of Petworth March 27, 2018 at 12:45 pm 0


Photo by PoPville flickr user angela n.

“Dear PoPville,

I live in a three-unit condo building, which our landlord owns and manages. I suspected our upstairs neighbors were renting out a room in their unit on AirBnB, and sure enough, I checked the site and found their listing easily (our building exterior and interior finishes are very distinct). They’re advertising their place as a place to party, and we hear them hosting get togethers frequently (lots of heavy footsteps upstairs, loud music, etc). The noise is annoying, the strangers coming and going frequently is potential safety issue, and I’m a bit paranoid about a potential bedbug problem from all the short term renters. Plus, our whole building splits the water bill evenly, so we’re on the hook for this extra water consumption. Safe to say our landlord doesn’t know about this. So my question is – is this an illegal rental, and if so, is there a regulatory agency we can report this to? These neighbors haven’t been reasonable in the past when we’ve tried to work out problems with them (like asking them to turn down music at 2am..) so I’d rather not engage with them directly.”

by Prince Of Petworth November 7, 2017 at 2:15 pm 0


Photo by PoPville flickr user Pablo Raw

The following was written by by Robert Robinson Chair, DC Consumer Utility Board. PoP-Ed. posts may be written about anything related to the District and submitted via email to princeofpetworth(at)gmail please include PoP-Ed. in the subject line.

Ed. Note: DC Water has tweeted: “Each of our customers pays the Impervious Area Charge (IAC) on their bill. Here’s the history behind it.”

“For years DC’s Combined Water and Sewer (CSS) system spewed sewerage into the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers and Rock Creek during heavy storms or snowmelts.

For years, beginning in the 1980s, my DC water bills informed me that I was paying charges to replace the CSS.

I doubt that any of that work was done before 2005.

Now there’s hell to pay.

Low-, middle-, and fixed-income families, senior citizens, churches and nonprofit organizations, and small businesses are paying the lion’s share of the clean-up costs–with ever-rising water bills.

So, kudos to NBC4 Investigative Reporter Jodie Fleischer for for shining a light on DC Water rates that threaten to drive residents off of their property.

At the heart of the problem is D.C. Water’s $ 2.6 billion system to stop the Combined Sewer System’s overflows from contaminating the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers and Rock Creek, by containing the effluent in a mammoth two-tunnel system and sending it to DC Water’s 153-acre Blue Plains wastewater treatment facility.

The system is funded by the Impervious Areas Charge (IAC) under a Clean Rivers Project created by a 2005 Consent Decree.

But why does St. Paul’s Rock Creek Parish Church cemetery — thick with trees and graves and few impervious roads — pay a $200,000 impervious Area Charge annually, comparable to the $209,000 paid by the Washington, DC Nationals Stadium?

It’s not like the cemetery’s dead are producing stormwater runoff, drinking water, showering, flushing toilets and doing laundry at the rate of a 44,000-seat stadium that operates 19 parking lots. (more…)

by Prince Of Petworth September 14, 2017 at 3:15 pm 0


Photo by PoPville flickr user Eric P.

“Dear PoPville,

From Councilmember Todd’s newsletter which features a message from DC Water (see excerpt below). The “retroactively charging” is extremely concerning and raises more questions than it answers. How far back will they go? Could a homeowner be responsible for a previous owner’s “underpaid” water bills? I think this is definitely something readers would be interested in given past posts about people experiencing high water bills.

“While it may be frustrating to now see your bill increase, we feel pretty strongly that it makes the overall system better to have everyone paying for precisely the water they use – no more and no less. And in most cases we are retroactively seeking payment for the water that we undercharged customers for.”

by Prince Of Petworth July 27, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0


Photo by PoPville flickr user Joe Flood

“Dear PoPville,

I recently moved into a new condo building, which had been redone (it used to be a 4 unit apartment building).

While we have moved in, before we closed on the condo, we signed a separate document with our seller acknowledging the work they still need to do on our place, which includes fixing our call box (which currently does not work for our unit), and a number of other minor things.

Although we have minor problems, our neighbor in the building has more serious issues, and the contractors never finished the neighbor’s closets that she request built in the condo as part of the settlement.

We also recently found out, upon the transfer of the DC Water bill, that he had not been paying the water bill for months. (more…)

by Prince Of Petworth July 25, 2017 at 3:15 pm 0


Photo by PoPville flickr user Clif Burns

“Dear PoPville,

I live in Brookland and absolutely love it. However, my neighbor across the alleyway does not have running water. As a result, he regularly urinates in the alleyway. He also has guests who have in the past urinated in the alley and defecated in a neighbor’s backyard (not even his own, which somehow bothered me more). I’ve talked to him about this to no avail – the house has a huge overdue water bill that he can’t pay, and it’s way too high for me to consider paying it for my own sanity. I contacted DCRA but they never sent anyone. Any thoughts on how to handle this? Is this even legal, to live without running water?”

by Prince Of Petworth June 1, 2017 at 12:25 pm 37 Comments


Photo by PoPville flickr user Eric P.

“Dear PoPville,

I wanted to see how other folks have overcome terrible condo developers. We bought a unit in a new 30-unit condo building. The developer hasn’t finished some construction tasks, hasn’t provided HOA accounting information, has rented out units that are for low-income housing on Airbnb, and failed to pay our water bill, which resulted in the water being turned off for the entire building.

We’ve tried to be nice or threatening to get them to respond. But short of suing them which will be costly, is there any advice or city services that could help motivate them to act?”

by Prince Of Petworth March 14, 2017 at 2:00 pm 0

rental

This rental is located near Union Station/H Street, NE. The Craigslist ad says:

“$1199 Newly Renovated Large English Basement Walk to Union Station/H ST

Have your own private unit in the heart of Capitol Hill! Separate walkout entrance from the back and the front.

Newly designed English Basement with exposed brick wall running length of unit. Apartment has hardwood floors and spot lights. A block away from all the night life on H St NE and is a short walk to Union Station and Eastern Market.

Washer/dryer in unit. Stainless steel appliances.
$1199 per month includes water bill. One year lease required.”

by Prince Of Petworth February 14, 2017 at 2:40 pm 59 Comments

moving advice
Photo by PoPville flickr user Mark Andre

“Dear PoPville,

I’m planning a move from a condo to a house and wondering if the PoPville community might offer some advice. I know I will have to deal with differences in utilities, like paying a water bill, and gone are the days of an HOA fee that covers external/common area repairs. I’m wondering if there are other things I should consider when making this jump? What to avoid or look for before buying, and are there other city fees that I might not be expecting?”

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