Washington, DC


Photo by Geoff Livingston

“Dear PoPville,

During my 10+ years living in DC, I have handled my monthly water and sewer usage a number of different ways: no charge (apartment pays it); directly billed with DC Water; and via a formula, referred to as RUBS where essentially the building receives a bill and divvys it out amongst residents via a formula. No matter how I’ve been billed, the cost was so nominal that I never cared to investigate how or why I was being charged the way that I was – on average, anywhere between $15-25 per person for both sewer and water.

All that has changed. Read More

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Photo by angela n.

“Dear PoPville,

I live in a high-rise “luxury” building in NW, less than 3 years old. My roommate and I were the first people to live in our unit.

In May, we noticed a minor bug problem, and called maintenance. Since then we’ve discovered we have a huge cockroach infestation. At the worst point we were killing 20+ full-sized roaches in a day. Now we see only a few a week, but they persist.

I have had to plead with our building to send out pest control multiple times, and they’ve now been out 7 times, and done an entire apartment spray 3 times where they spray the baseboards. Read More

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Photo by Tim Brown

“Dear PoPville,

My husband and I are moving out of our current apartment and, as per our lease, had to give 60 days’ notice. Our landlords indicated they intend to pretty immediately list and start showing the apartment, while we are still in it. Now, we have never had landlords try to show an apartment we were still living in, though I know this is their right and is not entirely uncommon. While normally it would just be inconvenient, during a global pandemic, it’s pretty scary to envision strangers tromping through our apartment where we both work and live (and are basically at home 24/7 these days!) and it also feels particularly pointless because I think the odds of people seeing our increasingly messy and cluttered apartment as we ourselves prepare to move out will not be particularly appealing to any potential future renters. On top of everything, I am also pregnant, which my landlords are aware of (and apparently do not care). Read More

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Photo by Victoria Pickering

From the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia:

“Attorney General Karl A. Racine today announced that Castle Management and other defendants, which owned and managed the Forest Ridge and The Vista Apartment complexes (398 units) in Ward 8, will pay $3.5 million to settle a lawsuit over dangerous and deplorable conditions at its properties. The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) alleged the property owner forced hundreds of tenants to live with vermin infestations, water damage and mold, no fire safety systems, and security defects that led to persistent gun violence. Separately, OAG resolved a lawsuit against the owner of Good Hope Laundromat requiring it to address persistent gun and drug nuisances at the property and pay penalties to the District. In a third settlement, the landlord and management of a Ward 4 apartment building accused of misrepresenting its apartments as safe and habitable despite ongoing housing code violations is required to substantially renovate the property, prove its properties are compliant with D.C. housing laws for future rentals, pay $50,000 in combined civil penalties, and implement an employee Housing Code training. Read More

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Photo by John Sonderman

“Dear PoPville,

I got this email from my property. Vague accusations and tone are concerning. Also property is declaring ALL forms of medical marijuana a violation of lease and also encouraging residents to report each other for suspected violations.

Is this legal? Is this the norm policy for private property owners in dc?

They are encouraging residents to police each other and threatening lease violations (eviction) during a pandemic. Very tone deaf and disappointing.”

Twelve12 – Smoking Policy Letter: Read More

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Photo by angela n.

“Dear PoPville,

I am a small-time landlord (just one condo), and my tenant has been making late or partial payments since the pandemic started. I had some email and phone conversations with them early on, and assured them that I could not try to evict them if their April rent payment was late while they waited for various assistance programs, including expanded unemployment benefits (part of their income is from freelancing, which I knew at the outset), were implemented.

At the beginning of May, the tenant paid all of the April rent and half of the May rent. Read More

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Photo by Jordan Barab

“Dear PoPville,

Like the person who wrote in the other day with a rental/lease question, I’m writing in hoping to get some advice on a tricky lease situation. I rent a lovely 3-bedroom rowhouse in DC with 2 roommates. We’re all three on the lease together (“jointly and severally liable”), and we pay the landlord one single combined payment each month. The lease is now month-to-month, having rolled over from a year-long lease originally.

One of my roommates gave exactly 30 days’ notice to move out, and I’ve been diligently searching for a new roommate to start July 1 … and so far coming up short. Read More

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Photo by Clif Burns

“Dear PoPville,

I received this email from my apartment building’s management. The stuff about amenities is not new, but the thing that jumped out at me is that they are threatening to evict residents if they don’t wear masks in common areas or if they have guests over. Besides that there’s nothing I can see in the lease that allows this, evictions are illegal right now (for 60 days until the end of the public health emergency). Management has not laid out an exceptions for people who have difficulty putting on masks due to a disability, or for children, and haven’t laid out exceptions for people with essential guests (caretakers and the like). This is a Bozzuto building; it would be interesting to know if other Bozzuto residents have gotten notices like this?

Dear Valued Residents, Read More

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Thanks to Eileen for sending from “15th and Fuller streets NW close to Meridian Hill Park. Each few days there’s one more sign. It started with just the black and white one. Seems like there’s a movement growing in this building.”

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Photo by DCbmyers

“Dear PoPville,

This is the first I’ve seen of a building requiring residents to wear masks just to leave their apartment (run to trash room, take the dog for a walk). Considering masks aren’t required for regular exercise, I can’t imagine a landlord has any ability to throw this on lease-holders, right? Regular mask wearer here, but considering the legality. Any experience with this?” Read More

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