The District is suing the 23 property owners of 71 rental buildings (46 rental homes and 25 apartment buildings) for “egregious” code violations. It is also demanding that 13 of the properties be declared “public nuisances” so that repairs are made immediately.
Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty says the lawsuit does not even name all of the egregious properties in the District. D.C. officials say that the lawsuit comes after years of trying to get landlords to improve the conditions on their properties through fines, requests, demands, and civil lawsuits filed by the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.
The owners of the 58 building that have not been placed in receivership reportedly have a history of refusing to make the necessary building repairs or secure the proper licenses to rent out their properties. The lawsuit is intended to force the owners into compliance.
Leaks, pest infestations, mold, and inadequate security are some of the conditions on a number of the premises that require repair or remedy. Because many of the tenants are poor and/or are immigrants, the the landlords may not feel as much pressure to make the necessary repairs. Other landlords reportedly allow the conditions on their properties to deteriorate so that their tenants are forced out due to “eviction by neglect” and the buildings can be rebuilt into upscale housing without violating any tenant conversion laws.
Unfortunately, poor and unsafe conditions on a rental property can pose a health and/or danger risk to tenants and their visitors. Inadequate security can lead to residents becoming the victims of crimes, including sexual assault, physical assault, murder, and robbery.
Not making the proper repairs on a property can lead to slip and fall accidents, electrocution accidents, fires, asbestos or lead paint hazards, and other premises liability-related accidents or dangers.
If you have been injured or someone you love has died on another person’s property because of the property owner’s negligence or carelessness, our Washington D.C. personal injury law firm would like to talk to you.
District Sues 23 Landlords for Code Violations, WashingtonPost.com, April 5, 2008
Premises Liability Overview, Justia
Related Web Resources:
Renter’s Rights and Responsibilities: The Basics, Virginia State University
Tips on Renting in the District of Columbia, Washington Post
Contact Lebowitz & Mzhen today to schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced premises liability attorneys.