Newly-Introduced Bill Seeks to Crack Down on DC Slumlords

  • May 3rd 2016

by Nena Perry-Brown

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Today, At-Large Councilmember Anita Bonds introduced legislation that intends to enforce stricter oversight of slumlords in the District.

The prevalence of slumlords and deterioration of rental housing has been a major issue in DC, especially as many building owners purportedly attempt to cash in on selling or redeveloping older properties at market rate by allowing untenable conditions in their buildings.

A recent article in the Washington City Paper enumerated the frustrations many residents have with their substandard living conditions, which can be anything from broken locks and squatters to bedbug and rodent infestations to leaks and water damage, faulty appliances, and no heating or air conditioning.

The “Rental Housing Accommodation Nuisance Abatement Amendment Act of 2016”, co-sponsored by Councilmembers Evans, Cheh, Todd, May, Orange and Grosso, will allow the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, the DC Attorney General, or any community-based organization to go to DC Superior Court and file on behalf of tenants who have been living in a rental that has been neglected for 30 consecutive days.

This will force the hand of owners whose properties are a health, safety, or security hazard to its residents. The bill will also allow the Attorney General to issue subpoenas related to these 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 when introducing the bill.

As it stands now, residents must appeal to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs to inspect nuisance properties and issue housing code violations. This can often become a cyclical process that fails to hold landlords to a consistently high standard of accountability.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/newly-introduced_bill_seeks_to_crack_down_on_dc_slumlords/11187.

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