Monday, December 30, 2013

Yellow Tape- Crooked House

This will be cross-posted with InShaw
Yellow Tape-Crooked House

This is 1801 & 1803 6th St NW. 1801 looks very vacant and appears it may one day fall down. Problem is that it is attached to 1803 6th St and I gather they are supposed to be one structure and are taxed as one and share SSL 475-0057, according to the Tax office.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Vacant no more

A repost from the InShaw Blog:

This little photo is from the DCRA's PIVS, which I think get's it's photo from another system, but it's all DCRA, so it is all good. In 2010, 1607 New Jersey Avenue NW was a mess. I posted about the rear of the house and how it looked like the back of the house was due to collapse into the alley at any moment. The owner of the house had died but was still getting the Senior Citizen Homestead Deduction.
The city, I assume, came and removed the offending rear wall. Unfortunately, the house still had stuff in it. I remember calling the city to complain that the property was not secure. I also remember asking some neighbors doing reno work on their own homes to help board up or secure the boards on the rear.
Recently, work has been done. I gather the estate of the former Mr. Arvid W Broadus either sold to or became the new developer fixing the place up. I haven't paying close attention to the rehab and renovations but it is looking good. Who knows it might come on the market around early spring 2014 or sooner.
1607NJ Ave NW

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

May or maynot be vacant but surely concerning

1801 6th St Nw
I've noticed a house over the years at the corner of 6th and S Streets NW that looks as if it is falling down, or about to fall down. In the front, on the 6th Street side I have noticed the windows getting ever more crooked as the years go by. The brick along the chimney disappeared some time ago. Cracks under and above the windows along with new cracks (new to me) along the S Street side that seem to hint that this building might fall down the small hill it is on.
The house at 1801 6th St NW is attached to another house at 1803. According to's online property tax database the two addresses are combined and owned by someone living in the corner structure, but not receiving a homestead deduction, or even a senior citizen discount. So I am not going to look at the Social Security Death Index but I will keep my eye on this one.

Monday, July 22, 2013

1910 2nd St NE

Credit DaMenDC
 This is from the Eckington Yahoo List on July 21, 2013:
The vacant property on 1910 2nd St NE has extensive fire damage and has
been sitting there like a disaster for almost a month now. Is the city
responsible for boarding up the windows to prevent vagrants and criminals
from occupying the home for illegal activities? If not, who is supposed to
clean this mess up? 40cD0B9jNf

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

430 Manor Pl NW

The Washinton City Paper has an article about a vacant property at 430 Manor Place NW, "Lost and Foundering: Why so many of D.C's vacant houses stay that way." The article uses the beforementioned property as an example of how the system set up to address vacant and blighted properties has trouble with orphaned properties.

Monday, April 15, 2013

1530 3rd St NW - Work being done

Just an update. I passed by 1530 3rd St NW. I have noticed work is being done. There appears to be a permit on the door. Thing is, DCRA's PIVS has no permits listed for this year and the owner is still dead. But for a dead guy he's throwing up framing pretty quickly.
Since we're in a hot-hot prosecco-bubbly real estate market I predict that this will sell quickly for an ungodly amount of money regardless if the right permits or any inspections occur.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

GGW- Abandominium @ 1260 Talbert St SE

If there are squatters it is still a vacant property.
GGW has a post titled "Vacancy at the Parkway Guesthouse Abandominium" a play on the word abandoned and condominium. According to the post, when visited the property was not secure, doors were not locked and anybody could come in. According to photographs it looks pretty rough and a ceiling has fallen in.
The property at 1260-1272 Talbert Pl SE was purchased last year for (according to GGW) 1 million dollars. One can assume that it will eventually get torn down and developed. There is a permit to raze the property (# R0900193).

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Checking on Vacant Properties

There are a few easy steps to check and see if the city knows that the vacant house down the street or next door from you is vacant. Yes, to you it may be obvious, but the city is not god-like all knowing.
First thing is to check the Real Property Assessment Database. Plug in the address for the "Premise Address" and hit search now. Look at the Class 3 Exception on the form that comes up. If it doesn't say no, there is something wrong. Go down the page and click "View Tax Information" or "View Payments" if the taxes aren't at the rate of $5 or $10 (5%-10%) per $100 of property value for the year 2012, there is something wrong. Apparently the higher rate for 2013 hasn't been sent out, so let's take a wait and see with OCFO does for 2013.
Second, check with DCRA's Vacant Building Enforcement. You may download the Excel spreadsheet for 2013, and look for the address of the vacant property. The easy way to find it is to filter it by ward then look for the address which is in house number order.
If you do these and BOTH don't list the property as vacant and there are no permits (check here) for construction and it is not up for sale, email . If you find the double whammy of the property being listed as having a homestead or senior deduction also email

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

1530 3rd St NW- After the Fire

1530 and other 1500blk of 3rd St NW
Crossposted with InShaw Blog.
My own memory of 1530 3rd St NW is that there was a house fire, and the story I had heard was that the woman who lived there was out for Bible Study and came home to find it ablaze. I also heard she was a hoarder, which may or may not have been true but that was the story I heard at that time. The fire was on April 9, 2008 according to DCFire. They have pictures of the fire, where you can see the top floor aflame. DC Fire also says that there was a report of people being trapped, they don't say if that report was confirmed, just that there were no injuries.
I also thought a bank took control of the property. But like another property I know of, where the bank has taken physical control but hasn't bothered to tell the city, this remains in the old owner's name. It is in the name of John K. Jones, a name common enough I'm not going to bother trying to hunt down, and the owner's mailing address is 1530 3rd St NW. Not only vacant but abandoned. However, somebody has been paying the taxes. There were big tens of thousands sized tax bills for 2009, 2011 and 2012. The Tax Assessment database shows information about the taxes and also that in 2012 there was a water and sewer lein placed on the property. This appears to be an off year where the house get's charged at the normal non-blighted rate. DCRA's PIVS system doesn't show any permits for the house since the fire. There have been 2 BCIB inspections, one being last year, and is on the Vacant and Blighted list.
It has been about 5 years since the fire, this property needs to be sold so a developer could put it to good use. There is a lot of square footage in the building and it is very tall, the shell should be worth a lot. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

310 P St NW

310 P St NW
Crossposted with the InShaw Blog.
I am confused as to why this is not charged at the vacant or blighted rate for 2013. This property, owned by Allision Bennett of Largo, MD since 2006, has been a vacant shell for many, many, many years. According to the Tax office, it was charged at the blighted rate for the past three years, add to the other years the total owed to the city is $187,499.31. The city hasn't collected anything from the owner since 2009. Maybe the City has decided they are not going to see the money, so what's the point?
Looking at DCRA'a PIVS system there is something about it being Market. Does that mean it is up for sale, somewhere, maybe in an alternative universe? Or maybe it is explaining how the owner came to 310 P St NW.There hasn't been a permit issued since 2006, and that was to demolish the interior, which yes, there is no interior. If you look at the photo you can see right through to the alley. The last time the City looked in on this was in July, by what I can gather is the Board for Condemnation of Insanitary Buildings. Yep, still vacant, still a shell.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Danger of Blighted Buildings

Crossposted with In Shaw.

When I am done with the InShaw blog I hope to spend more time and energy on other projects, one being the Vacant Properties blog, because vacant and blighted residential buildings hurt all neighborhoods, gentrified, gentrifying and DC neighborhoods with so much blight that they are called blighted. A recent fire in S.E. DC which claimed the lives of two adults demonstrates the danger of having blighted properties, particularly in attached housing.

In the Washington Post article about the fire, resident Ericka Walker is quoted in saying that she tried to alert authorities, but "couldn't find anyone to help." The article says that the police and zoning (zoning? why zoning isn't this a DCRA issue?) have nothing about anyone saying anyone was living there full time. Full time was not defined, and I wonder how soon after Ms. Walker complained did anyone follow up and what entails following up.
DCFD has some video
When it is cold it is not unheard of in the history of this city that people get into vacant buildings. They may start fires to keep warm, and in the case of 1704 R St SE, there was cooking.

You can report vacant and blighted properties to DCRA but there doesn't to be any clear course of action when there is squatting. All the city seems to be able to do is tax the properties at a higher rate and reboard/secure the property. The owner of the property (unless this has changed) is the only one who can ask the police to remove tresspassers/ squatters, which is problematic when you have an absentee landlord who has essentially abandoned their property.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

1617 New Jersey Avenue NW

This is not news, just an observation of a vacant property.
For the longest while 1617 New Jersey Avenue NW has been vacant. The owner had fixed it up and rented it out. But then the renters went away and the bank was foreclosing. And foreclosing, and eventually would get around to actually foreclosing. Before the bank took physical control, the owner stripped everything out. Everything, the french doors, the deck, the nice doors, fridge, everything.
For a while, address was listed on Redfin as being under contract since May 2012, but it doesn't say what happened after that. I also noticed that the owner who was being foreclosed upon is still listed as the owner on the DC real propery tax database, with NJ Ave as his address. As a vacant (but apparently not blighted) residence, it is taxed at the Class 3 rate.
Walking by I noticed a for sale sign out front, which had me searching on Redfin.  Things may have changed but I thought if a vacant property was up for sale, it could avoid getting taxed at the Class 3 or 4 rate. Since September 2011 it has been taxed at the higher rate and somebody has been paying it.
The point of the rate is to push the parties involved to get vacant properties into good use again. However, it is 2013 and this place has been empty at least since 2010 (probably before that). There could be other things at play. Martin Moulton of the CCCA alerted me to the ongoing case of 509 O St NW, where the owner is dragging out her case for a property that has been falling apart since 2004.
These vacant and in cases blighted properties are an impediment to the progress of a street. They are missed opportunities of having neighbors who may add to the community. The longer they are vacant the more missed opportunities.