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.