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Class warfare, slumlord edition

DCblogger's picture

Amidst pristine high-rises and condemned buildings are thousands of poorly maintained low-rent units in limbo.

Will Merrifield is a staff attorney with the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless who’s worked with tenants at buildings facing that dilemma. “They just let the properties go to hell. This is what they do. This is their business model,” Merrifield says of the buildings’ owners. “For that to be a business model, to exploit and displace people so you can make maximum profit through redevelopment, that’s what’s wrong with this city. That’s a big part of why we have a homelessness problem… You’re betting on people being displaced who have lived here their whole lives and pay taxes. It’s sick.”

this article got some attention -
After 10 Years of Asking His Landlord to Fix a Leak, This Man’s Ceiling Collapsed

This week, At-Large Councilmember Anita Bonds introduced a bill that empowers advocates, as well as D.C.'s attorney general, to file an action against landlords in D.C. Superior Court if buildings have been severely neglected for at least 30 days. In addition to the cover story, City Paper's Will Sommer recently detailed the deplorable conditions at a condemned building at 5509 9th St. NW whose low-income tenants didn't want to leave—they had nowhere else to go.

I would be much more impressed had she followed Kashma Sawant's example and introduced legislation that prohibits rent increases in buidlings that do not meet code.

see also
This Man Was Forced to Kill Rats With His Heart Meds. Can D.C. Save His Apartment Building?

Clearly fines are treated as the cost of doing business. DC Attorney General Karl Racine needs to bring criminal charges against the worst offenders.

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