I'd love to buy, say, in Dupont or in the booming U Street area, but since I'm poor (relatively), I'm looking more toward the eastern edge of Shaw and Bloomingdale -- both areas, which I'm betting on, will be less drug-peddling and more overpriced latte-peddling in five-to-10 years when I'd be ready to turn my own profit. (Yay capitalism!)
And while I don't think one can nor should stop progress, there is a correct way to go about it. But according to the Post, DC has got it all wrong and now my guilty conscience is getting in the way of my plans to gentrify. (Boo incompetent city agencies!)
If you had the chance to read the series, which I highly recommend, you'd know that the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, the DC-city entity that's supposed to safeguard renters' rights, has basically been f*cking up in every imaginable way. According to the Post:
- DCRA's goal is to investigate emergency complaints about shoddy buildings within 48 hours, but only about half are inspected that quickly. Dozens of investigations for utility outages, infestations, broken pipes and sewer backups have stalled for weeks or even months.
- Agency leaders acknowledge that inspectors only sporadically made return visits to ensure repairs were completed, so it is impossible to know how many infractions have gone uncorrected. Last October, 1,900 reinspections were past due for all residential properties.
- DCRA took nearly 1,000 housing code cases to court in the past three years, but nearly half of the completed cases were dismissed, often because of agency failures. More than 30 cases died when officials for DCRA didn't show up for hearings.
- Even when judges have found owners liable and levied fines, DCRA often didn't try to collect the money. Of $572,000 in fines imposed during the past three years, landlords paid less than $112,000, court records show. DCRA can place liens on properties with outstanding fines, but a review of unpaid fines from 2005 shows that it often doesn't happen.
Now, as inductive logic reveals, this cycle of retardedness not only affects those getting kicked out onto the streets, but it affects me (albeit in a much more superficial way) because my buying one of these places actually makes me an aider and abettor to this exceptionally messed up system.
So now I'm questioning my decision to own, despite that the market is primed for first-time buyers right now. I just don't think I could handle knowing that my hard-earned money is contributing to this sick and twisted circle of KICKING CHILDREN OUT ONTO THE STREET. And while I tend to be a bit Nietzschean in my moral compass, I don't think there's any type of excuse for the DCRA, the slumlords or the developers that partake in this kind of "business."
Seriously, suck it, DCRA, et al. I hope you can't sleep at night.
But before I drop my plans to buy a home in this hell hole all-together, I think I need to do more research on my own. That is, I need to step up my real-estate game. Clearly, not every landlord or developer is taking advantage of DC's remedial DCRA. So, before even looking at a place, I think I'll put my David Caruso-style interrogation skills to work to make sure the property was procured fairly and ethically. And, of course, if I find out anything good or bad, I'll make sure to pass it along here. Now, back to my regular posts about me making fun of popped collars...