thisshouldbeillegal.com‘s soft launch was featured on the popular blog DCist.com on Tuesday and the site has received over 600 hits in the past 24 hours. We appreciate everyone’s comments and willingness to help us make the city’s rental properties safer. We will officially kick-off this blog and other online communications next week.
One important issue raised is whether alerting the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs could lead to you being kicked out of your apartment. Our goal is to make sure your off-campus housing is safe. Only in the most extreme cases – less than one percent over the past three years – have inspections lead to the complete closure of any building. Once landlords are clear on the penalties they face, most voluntarily comply with the law by obtaining a basic business license and putting their property through a proper inspection. Here is a list of housing violations we were able to convince landlords to fix or that we fixed ourselves. Contacting us does make a difference.
Again, to see if your landlord is licensed, click here.
Several people have asked privately whether landlords will know you called DCRA to report they had no business license or that they weren’t being responsive to your requests. Every year, DCRA conducts 40,000 home inspections at the request of renters for various reasons. And we take privacy and your wish to remain anonymous very seriously. Our goal is to ensure buildings are safe and healthy – not to create a big scene.
And most of the time, a simple visit from city inspectors can be just the nudge landlords need to respond to problems quickly and without any hassle. If you have any concerns, call us anonymously at 202-437-1024 or email us.
Is your landlord licensed? Find Out Here.
When a property owner decides they want to rent a house, an apartment building or just a portion of their home, the District requires them to obtain a Basic Business License (BBL). This is one of the few ways that the city is able to ensure the property is safe to occupy and can be properly monitored. If gives you, the renters, and the landlord certain protections.
It also triggers an automatic inspection by the D.C. Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) and the D.C. Fire Marshall. If they don’t voluntary seek a BBL, we depend on people like yourselves to report these property owners and demand a housing inspection.
Doug and Linda Turnbull lost their daughter, Julie, in an off-campus house fire one month before her 22nd birthday and college graduation.