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Pest Problem? Landlords Should Fix That

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By Ginger Moored

Rats, roaches, stuck windows…In D.C., your landlord needs to fix those problems ... and fix them well. Ginger Moored reports there's help if the landlord doesn't….

Cecilia Arce is in Mt. Pleasant.

"Hola, le pone informacion?" she asks, telling passersby who are renters to take photos of bugs and mold in their apartments. That way the D.C. government, which is where she works, can make sure landlords are doing their jobs.

"He's supposed to exterminate the building, but we have seen they exterminate the unit that has the problem but they don’t do it through the rest of the building," she says.

Arce says it is the tenant’s responsibility to tell landlords about problems they may have, and they should make requests in writing--that way they have a copy of it.

Renters can call D.C.’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs if exterminations aren’t done right, or if landlords do something like paint over mold to hide it or don't provide necessary utilities.

"Just this past winter there was a management company that was having a hard time, and they would say, 'well if I turn the heat on, well it’s gas, so I’m going to have to raise the rent," says Arce.

Which, Arce says, is illegal, as is evicting people who ask landlords to make repairs, or complain to the city if they don't do it.

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