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DC Condo & HOA News Archive

/ Owner - June 28, 2012
  • Illegal construction forces DC residents out of condos February 24, 2024
    Residents of a condo in D.C.’s Adams Morgan neighborhood need to find a new place to stay because of illegal construction work at an empty building next door.    Video news report……………………..
  • They fled crumbling D.C. condos three years ago. Their lives were never the same. February 12, 2024
    It has been nearly three years since dozens of first-time home buyers were forced to flee their crumbling Anacostia condominium because the District deemed the newly-constructed building unsafe.  Ever since, homeowners said, they have existed in a state of limbo — unable to return to life as they knew it and unable to truly move on. For many, the forced departure triggered a cascade of events that has forever changed the course of their lives.   Read the article…………………………….
  • DC homeowners displaced by faulty condos to lose temporary housing November 10, 2023
    For the first time since homeowners were forced out of their faulty constructed condominiums, the District Council held a hearing to discuss what they call the “debacle” surrounding the River East at Grandview Condos.    Read the article………………………………..
  • Displaced Homeowners Say D.C. Government Has No Plan for Recompense November 2, 2023
    Two years ago, the D.C. government told condominium owners at River East at Grandview Estates that they suddenly had to move out of the structurally unsound building.   Read the article…………………………………..
  • Housing Authority bought condos in their building and let it crumble, owners say (DC) September 25, 2023
    The Authority controls a sizable voting block on the board and a vice president seat, which allows it to take over when the president is inactive. The Authority has not done so, some owners said. The Authority countered that it is up to the owners to initiate meetings and undertake repairs. As the impasse has dragged on, some owners have shouldered repair costs and seen the value of their homes stagnate.    Read the article………………………..
  • ‘So what is the city going to do?’ | Engineers cite DC condos at risk of “imminent collapse” September 15, 2023
    Department of Building inspectors condemned the homes on Talbert Street, SE, but engineers say neighbors who live on Morris Road are in danger too.  Read the article………………………..
  • Anacostia homeowners want DC government to make them ‘whole’ May 25, 2023
    Residents at 1262 Talbert St. SE had to leave their homes more than two years ago after it was determined their housing complex was slipping off its foundation.   Read the article………………………..
  • Dozens displaced by DC condo roof fire May 20, 2023
    An apartment roof deck fire in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of D.C. was put out around 10 p.m. on Friday night, according to DC Fire and EMS.   Officials said the building’s 28 units are “uninhabitable” following the destructive blaze, pushing all occupants out of their homes early into Saturday morning. No preliminary damage estimates were available ahead of publication.    Read the article………………………..
  • More aid but no solutions for owners at crumbling D.C. condo building October 3, 2022
    More than a year after countless calls, meetings and messages to city officials, little has changed for the dozens of first-time home buyers who were forced to flee their crumbling Anacostia building.   Read the article………………………..
  • A civil war among neighbors over Confederate-themed streets (VA) May 15, 2022
    On the corner of Confederate Lane and Plantation Parkway in the Civil War-themed housing development of Mosby Woods, a “Black Lives Matter” lawn sign faces the two street markers.  Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Decision expected soon on whether SE DC condo residents will be forced out of their homes February 12, 2022
    Residents of a Southeast Washington condominium complex expect to learn Monday the result of their appeal to stay in their homes after the city ordered them out.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • DCRA cites Homeowners’ Association President for creating a ‘hazard to life and safety’ in SE condos (DC) February 8, 2022
    Saturday, a resident recorded cellphone video of Homeowners Association President Marcus Little seemingly violating District building code by tearing down a Stop Work Order placed there by housing inspectors last week. Residents said Mr. Little left the building in such disrepair refusing to use their association fees to fix the growing problems.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Residents of SE DC condo forced to move out due to unsafe conditions February 5, 2022
    The city has ordered residents of a Southeast Washington condominium building out before Monday due to unsafe conditions that some residents blame on the head of their condo association.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • In Mount Pleasant, A Battle Over Balconies Threatens Longtime Residents Of A Historic Building (DC) December 15, 2021
    The 25 balconies adorning the historic Kenesaw/Renaissance apartments in Mount Pleasant are certainly elegant. But should residents have to pay $1.5 million to restore them?  That’s the question at the center of a long-simmering dispute between residents of the 16th Street Beaux Arts building and the city’s Historic Preservation Review Board. After unsuccessfully trying to seek a compromise with board members, residents of the part-co-op, part-condominium building are now taking their case to the Mayor’s Agent    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Displaced Ward 8 homeowners file a new lawsuit against city and developer (DC) November 18, 2021
    A dozen homeowners who purchased properties in Southeast DC that fell apart soon after they were constructed filed a new lawsuit last month against the city, the developer, and a housing nonprofit.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Court says DC isn’t liable for severe structural issues at a Ward 8 town house project it helped fund September 30, 2021
    In January 2021, Bennett and Callahan joined a group of homeowners in suing the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) — the city agency responsible for financing the project — as well as the developer and the River East at Grandview Condominium Association. The claims against the defendants included breach of contract, emotional distress, and violations of the District’s Consumer Protection Procedure Act (CPPA) for having failed to provide proper oversight over the construction and maintenance of the buildings.  ...
  • DC, Virginia officials pressing for building protections after Florida condo collapse July 11, 2021
    The horrific building collapse in Florida is leaving local communities on edge about where their own homes stand.  In the hours, days, and weeks after the deadly incident, Alexandria, Va. Mayor Justin Wilson said residents reached out voicing concerns.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Even with loosened restrictions some COVID-19 rules at DC area pools remain in place May 27, 2021
    The weather may not be so summer like this Memorial Day weekend but that isn’t stopping the reopening of most pools around the D.C. area, this year.  Even with loosened restrictions, many pool operators are telling people about COVID-19 rules that they will still have to abide by.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • HUD Revises Condominium Forms HUD-9991 and HUD-9992 April 16, 2021
    In Mortgagee Letter 2021-09, HUD announced the publication of Form HUD-9991, FHA Condominium Loan Level/Single-Unit Approval Questionnaire and Form HUD-9992, FHA Condominium Project Approval Questionnaire. Major changes to both forms include, consolidation or elimination of required information, removal of the requirement that the Condominium Association complete the form and sign the certification, and permitting data collected for the questionnaire to be no more than 90 days old prior to the questionnaire being signed.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Unhappy with the way your HOA is run? Here’s what you can do to improve the board. December 7, 2020
    Q: I wanted to comment on your recent column relating to the use of a homeowners association (HOA) pool during . Halfway through your answer you wrote, “You and your fellow residents voted in the board and they represent you.”  Read the article…………………………………
  • What homeowners associations should do when residents can’t pay during the pandemic May 26, 2020
    The coronavirus pandemic has delivered a multitude of horrors around the world. Along with the personal toll the virus has taken on individuals and families, the pandemic’s impact has shaken nearly all sectors of American economic life, and community associations are no exception. Millions of homeowners were under stay-at-home orders within a community association, and now many of those same homeowners face economic uncertainties that make it hard to pay their bills, including their condominium or homeowners association assessments.  Read the ...
  • Major fire in a high rise condo in Southwest (DC) May 25, 2020
    McKenzie reports: “Major fire in a high rise condo in Southwest. Cause of the fire currently unknown. Inside the north building of the Carrolsburg Condominium Complex. M & 4th SW. Is closed”   Read the article……………………………..
  • 7,000 gallons of raw sewage flood a DC condo building and DC Water blames wipes January 28, 2020
    Cellphone video and pictures showing four inches of raw sewage and feces floating on the floor of basement units inside Penn Circle Condominiums on 27th Street, SE told the first part of the story. Property Manager Paul Gallagher and residents Rasheema Brawner and Handi Wakatama told the second part of the story.Read the article………………………….
  • Like that condo you see? Before buying, make sure the association also measures up. August 12, 2019
    Many condo buyers purchase a condominium based on the actual unit, but they often fail to consider the underlying association that binds them.  Living in a condominium is joining a community where the rules are set by the association — and you agree to follow them when you buy your condo. In our experience, the health, management and organization of the governing body can have an equal, if not greater, impact on the enjoyment of your condo than the actual ...
  • Swimming pool drains into condo building, D.C. fire department says May 28, 2019
    A rooftop pool can be a fun way for apartment residents to keep cool in Washington summers. However, things can occasionally go wrong — giving rise on Monday to what the D.C. fire department called an “unusual incident.”  In a Twitter message, the fire department said a broken pipe caused a rooftop pool to drain into “multiple floors” of an 11-story condo building in the 1300 block of 18th Street NW.    Read the article……………………
  • Appreciation: Benny L. Kass made buying and owning a home less scary for a generation of readers April 2, 2019
    On Oct. 7, 1972, a column debuted in The Washington Post’s Real Estate section aimed at transforming one of the most perplexing transactions for many people — buying a house — into a process they could understand and manage.  At first, the column by Benny L. Kass was called Counsel to Home Buyer and Owner. It later morphed into Housing Consumer Counsel before finally becoming just Housing Counsel.    Read the article…………………….
  • Housing Counsel: Public Condo Law vs. Private Condo Law January 14, 2019
    Q: I am the President of a mid-size condominium in Washington.  Our Bylaws specifically prohibit short-term rentals of any kind. The board – and most of our members – agree that cutting out short term rentals and subleases of less than a year helps cut down on the move in and out traffic that creates maintenance distress, having renters that don’t care about the building and administrative tracking of who resides in the building.    Read the Q&A……………………
  • D.C.’s new short-term-rental rules allow room for condo associations’ existing bylaws January 4, 2019
    Q: I am the president of a mid-size condominium in Washington.  Our bylaws specifically prohibit short-term rentals of any kind. The board — and most of our members — agree that cutting out short-term rentals and subleases of less than a year helps cut down on the move-in and move-out traffic that creates maintenance distress, having renters who don’t care about the building and administrative tracking of who resides in the building.    Read the Q&A………………..
  • How to have influence on your condo board December 5, 2018
    Q: I own a small condominium in a midsize building in Chicago. I pay around $500 per month in assessments, and the building has more than $600,000 in reserves. The association hired a consultant to deliver a reserve study to the board, but it has not been posted to the condo building website.   Read the Q&A………………..
  • Kass: 5 steps new condo associations should take November 9, 2018
    Q. I live in a condominium complex with a large number of units. Recently, the developer notified each owner it will turn over control of the association to us, and a meeting has been scheduled for early next month. I have talked with a number of owners, and none of us have any idea what this means. Specifically, what should we be doing in anticipation of this meeting? What are our rights and responsibilities when transition is made?   Read the ...
  • Three new headaches for homeowner associations October 26, 2018
    What do drones, copyrights and mold have in common?  According to USI Insurance Services, a national insurer with more than 50 offices throughout the country, these are some of the emerging trends that homeowner associations are — or will be — facing in the coming years. They all affect the financial well-being and the investments of property owners.  Moreover, they also trigger insurance coverage, which may or not be available, as well as litigation.     Read the article………………
  • Kass: What to do when a condominium organization has become disorganized June 1, 2018
    Dear Benny: I read your informative articles, andI have a question concerning my condominium organization. We have an association in “title” only, because it is run by one lady who collects the fees. Problem one: She’s too tired to collect the fees from the owners who have abandoned their units. Problem two: How do we collect the fees from bank-owned units? I am trying to organize the other owners, and plan to schedule a meeting with them. Hopefully, we can ...
  • Owner of Condo Rented by EPA Head Cited for Illegal Rental (DC) April 6, 2018
    The owner of the Capitol Hill condo rented by embattled Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt has received a citation this week for not having a proper rental license, a D.C. agency has confirmed.  The condo has been linked to a prominent Washington lobbyist whose firm represents fossil fuel companies, officials said Friday.    Read the article……………
  • D.C. ruling offers good news for condo associations, bad news for banks March 23, 2018
    A new case in the District offers good news to condo associations struggling with owners delinquent on their fees: It reinforces their right to foreclose on a unit without having to wait for the bank to do so first.  Homeowner associations have lost money they desperately need to operate whenever they wait for banks to foreclose first.  Other winners in the case are buyers looking to whisk up a foreclosed condo at a huge bargain. Losers are banks that are ...
  • Kass: What makes for an ethical condo association election? February 9, 2018
    Dear Benny:Our condo has an election coming up: eight applicants for four positions. Residents are sent packets with applicants’ résumés and proxy sheet to mail in if they’re not able to attend the meeting to vote in person. Some residents ignore the entire event.  Some applicants are going door to door asking residents to sign a proxy form for them. These applicants will then walk into the meeting with signed proxies — more or less rigging the voting process.  This ...
  • Try to work out the noise dispute with your condo neighbors before suing them January 29, 2018
    Q: I am a condo owner in a four-unit building in Washington, D.C. I believe my fellow condo owners are refusing to enforce rules against excessive noise and nuisances, and I’d like to consider legal action. How should I proceed?    Read the Q&A…………………
  • Public Roads, Sidewalks Exempt From Skyrocketing Water Fees While Homeowners Have to Pay (DC) December 11, 2017
    For months, the News4 I-Team has been investigating the fairness of Washington, D.C.’s skyrocketing Clean Rivers water fee, which charges customers based on the square footage of their property that’s likely to create stormwater runoff.  Now, a new group of homeowners has contacted the I-Team saying they are being charged unfairly, forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars because the roads and sidewalks in their neighborhoods are considered private. The customers are particularly irate because most of the District’s ...
  • Why your development could be in big trouble if your HOA documents aren’t set up properly December 11, 2017
    Q: My husband inherited a private development that his father owned in West Virginia. How does one go about starting a homeowners association (HOA) for something like that? The lots were sold without any agreement about an HOA. All the extra costs like roads and sewer and snow removal have been covered privately, thus making this a nonprofitable venture.   Read the Q&A…………………
  • HOA’s lack of transparency raises red flags for home buyer September 11, 2017
    Q: My wife and I made an offer on a property in a self-managed Virginia community of single-family homes. Our offer hinged, in part, on the sales agent’s assurance that maintenance of the community’s private roads was totally covered by current homeowner’s association annual dues of $1,000 per lot. However, we just received the HOA’s disclosure letter stating that the board is studying a road engineer’s report for possible dues increases and special assessments.    Read the Q&A………………….
  • Condo owners may need to take legal action against developer who refuses to sell new units August 7, 2017
    We bought into a condo development five years ago. The condo documents said the declarant didn’t have to follow the condo rules or pay dues on his units until the last unit was sold.  We didn’t worry because the declarant control had expired and the developer was paying a reduced agreed amount each month for upkeep. We figured it would all shake out once all units were sold.     Read the article…………..
  • This condo owner pays fees for a money-losing garage and doesn’t even own a car June 16, 2017
    I live in a condo with 150 different units. Our assessments are based on our square footage. Residents can pay a monthly rent for parking spaces, while guests pay by the hour to park in the garage.  Our assessments are high. The garage loses $90,000 a year. Instead of raising the rates on parking, our board chooses to pay the loss by taking it out of our assessments.   Read the Q&A…………..
  • Why you need to check with the HOA about building defects before buying that condo June 14, 2017
    I am planning to buy a condominium, which is part of a homeowner association (HOA). I observed that a couple of units have exterior issues. It looks like bubbles are in the siding. However, the unit I am looking at is so far good.  After inquiring more about these mysterious bubbles, I learned that there were construction defects in the material used (which was synthetic stucco) and there had been a lawsuit against the construction company.    Read the Q&A………….
  • Best practices for condo boards to plan for future building repairs February 22, 2017
    Q: We live in a condo building of 56 units. We have a reserve fund marked for separate items like the elevator, roof, parking lot, painting, etc. If we didn’t have enough money to replace the elevator, can we use some of the money from the roof reserve fund?    Read the Q&A…………..
  • How to handle conflicts between condo owners and renters November 9, 2016
    Our three-unit condo building allows renters as long as the lease is for a term of at least one year. We bought a unit and then met the other two unit owners on the day we closed. We told them we’d be renting our unit and one of the unit owners has been quite distraught, as he has no interest in having renters in the building.      Read the Q&A…………..
  • Amnesty for D.C. condo buildings with out-of-date registrations ends Feb. 29 February 5, 2016
    To legally transact business here, a business or association based in the District must register with DCRA. Once registered, the entity must file a status report every two years. Additionally, most businesses are required to obtain a “basic business license.”  Read the article…………..
  • When is it time for developer to cede control of condo board to homeowners? October 7, 2015
    I recently saw your article regarding condominium reserve fund requirements and was wondering if you could possibly advise our complex resident/owners on what to do when you have completely inadequate homeowners association (HOA) reserves.    Read the Q&A…………….
  • What happens when your rental is being converted into a condo? September 29, 2015
    Do you live in an apartment building that is going to be converted to a condominium? If so, are you at risk of being evicted? Or is this your unanticipated chance to finally become a homeowner?  Many cities where land is scarce and housing is hard to find have developers who are clamoring to find established rental buildings that are suitable for conversion.      Read the article…………….
  • How to enforce lease restrictions in a condo building September 2, 2015
    Q: I am president of my association for a nine-unit condominium building. We have a limit to the number of units that can be leased in the building. The approach is somewhat liberal in that we allow four of nine units to be leased based on minimum guidelines set by the Federal Housing Administration.  Read the article……….
  • Residents to Leave Water Street Condos for Repairs June 1, 2015
    Residents of a high-end, 72-unit building on the Georgetown waterfront will be moving out temporarily for repairs to a structure just over ten years old.  With a lawsuit settled between owners of units in the condominium building at 3303 Water St. NW and its builder and seller EastBanc and its CEO Anthony Lanier, construction work is set to begin this month.     Read the article………..
  • New laws (MD/DC) next year mandate bicycle storage, training for board officials March 27, 2015
    If you are a member of a community association board of directors in Montgomery County, as of January 2016 you will be required to take basic training within 90 days after being elected.  And if you live in an apartment in the District and own a bicycle, your landlord may be obligated to provide storage space to park it.    Read more……….
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