As if Burleith residents weren’t busy enough opposing the 2010 campus plan and admonishing local bars, some are now watching your basement. After two months of sleuthing around the streets of Burleith, a “coalition of neighborhood groups” reported 134 illegal basement rentals to the DC Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs.
Burleith residents, aided by DCRA’s Property Information Verification System, spent eight weeks monitoring other people’s properties. In response to the amateur sleuths, DCRA sent letters to all homeowners on the list requesting explanations. Although homeowners will not assess fines if they voluntarily begin the business licensing process, DCRA will send investigators to the residences that do not respond.
“This effort is in direct response to concerns of neighbors,” Mike Rupert, DCRA communications manager, wrote in a comment on Urban Turf. “[L]ike we have seen in basements across the District—and most publicly when a student at Georgetown died just a few years ago—some of these apartments are unsafe and potentially deadly.”
Last January, the DCRA issued letters to 125 Georgetown-area landlords who allegedly rented their properties without valid licenses.