Tuesday, December 29, 2015

313-317 R St NW, a row of vacancy

300block of R St NWI sorta kinda wrote about this section of vacant houses in "Mr. Squatter, I Salute You". Well Mr. Squatter has long moved on and I have seen these yellow houses, condos really, pop up on the real estate websites being for sale, and well doing nothing.
At the time I shot this photograph two guys were trying to take a look in the center yellow townhouse as it is for sale. They've mostly been for sale and if they weren't condos probably would have sold by now and not have the bright yellow stickers of vacancy.
Let's review: (Starting from the right going left)
313 R St NW, units 1 & 2 are owned by the 313 R St LLC. Since the LLC is at a residential address in Potomac, MD I'm sure if I spent a little more energy I could figure out one name behind the LLC, but since he or she or they only recently obtained the two units in the right most yellow Wardman house (yes, it is a Wardman) on October 16th of this year. It had been on the market for over 800 days and sold for $440k. According to a note "Condo Association is not warranted, this condo was changed to a single family home. The bank is selling this property ( As-Is. )" it is a single house again, maybe. Hopefully the new owner will shine it up and sell for a pretty penny.
315 R St NW, units 1 and 2 are owned by two different LLCs. Unit 1 is owned by MTGLQ INVESTORS LP. Unit 1 also happens to be for sale now for $359K. A quick look at the pictures and I am going to guess there is mold/water damage so a cash buying investor would need to pick this up and take care of the roof or whatever is causing the damage. The current owners bought it as a foreclosure this year on March 25th for $405K and tried to sell it in April for I guess $399K. I don't know what's up with that. Unit 2 is owned by 315 R St LLC, the address in Rockville is associated with an attorney's office. That LLC got their unit in April 2011 for $175K and are taxed at the residential rate. Neither units 1 or 2 are charged at the vacant rate. There appears to have been a tiny bump in how much the properties owed the city in 2011. If the LP and the LLC can get together, maybe they can offload these.
The last and left most yellow house in our group is 317 R St NW. Unit 1 lists Raonuito Salazar as the owner, but I have my doubts. The city tax database lists him as the owner, buying the property in 2008 for $650K (waaaay too much IMHO). However, Redfin lists the property as been sold in foreclosure Feb 24, 2015 for $467,500, and it is now for sale for $329,900 and has been on the market for over 100 days. It's another property with water and mold damage and needs a cash buyer who can deal with all that as you can't get a regular loan due to the funky messed up condo thing. Tax-wise this has a Class 3 exception, so it is not being charged at the vacant rate. Unit 2 has Zion Group LLC listed as the owner with a commercial address on Kenilworth Ave NE. I found QHI Construction associated with the address but the two could be unrelated. Unit 2 was purchased in 2009 for $438,400. Neither of these are paying the vacant rate but the property does have the vacant sticker on it.
When I get around to it I will report these to DCRA or somebody. None of these were listed on the 2015 Blighted or Vacant Buildings Lists.
I stand by what I wrote earlier, you don't need new laws, you need better enforcement.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

We don't need a new law, just need you to enforce the old one

Recently WAMU had a short story on vacant and blighted properties. DC Council member Elissa Silverman wants to change the law to place the burden on the property owner. However the problem seemed to be that there aren't enough inspectors. There are only 4 for the whole city.
There are problems with switching it around to place the burden on the owner. Friends who bought and lived in a formerly vacant house, had to pay the vacant rate for at least a year (maybe more) taking out a loan to pay it while they tried to convince the city that they lived in their house. I wouldn't want to wish that nightmare on anyone. I get the desire to get vacant properties occupied but we should not trample innocents in our zeal to get at wrongdoers.