Oct 26, 2015
Tenants in four low-rent apartment buildings in Anacostia, in southeast Washington, D.C., testified that the owner is letting the buildings go to ruin. The tenants say the owner wants them to leave so he can tear down the cheap apartments and build higher rent ones. The rent is currently controlled because of a city law concerning older buildings. But if all the tenants leave, the developer is free to reconstruct the buildings and charge higher rent.
The tenants describe raw sewage in a basement; abandoned, broken washers and dryers in a laundry room; and doors that don't lock. More than half of the tenants have left since the developer began buying the buildings in 2009.
The tenants say the city is putting a lot of money into this neighborhood. For example, the mayor recently announced plans to build a 55 million-dollar practice facility there for D.C.'s women's basketball team, the Mystics. And there are plans for major government offices on the nearby grounds of the former Saint Elizabeth's Hospital. The developer expects to make more money renting to people with professional salaries who might then be attracted to the neighborhood.
This developer is known for making big campaign contributions and has a seat on the city Planning Commission. Clearly, this “Planning” doesn’t take into account people’s needs – but only money and connections!