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A D.C. Eviction Raises Questions About Rights Of Renters

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Neighbors say a family that was evicted in Northwest D.C. had been paying their rent, and were baffled as to why they were being thrown out of their home.
Jessica Kutch via Twitter (http://ow.ly/i/ebng)
Neighbors say a family that was evicted in Northwest D.C. had been paying their rent, and were baffled as to why they were being thrown out of their home.

The family of seven is described by neighbors as immigrants from Ethiopia living in a rented brownstone on Florida Avenue NW.

Earlier this week, marshals arrived unexpectedly, evicted the family, and padlocked the door. Jessica Kutch witnessed the eviction and says her neighbors had difficulty understanding why they were put out.

"The fact that they were renters and they were evicted when they had been paying their rent each month was really upsetting to them," Kutch says. "It's just not right."

The family settled temporarily in multiple locations and could not be located. Meanwhile, Kutch and other neighbors say the building owner may have left the area.

Joel Cohn, legislative director for D.C.'s Office of the Tenant Advocate, says the law protects renters when owners fall into foreclosure.

"There's the absolute right when there's a foreclosure for the tenant to remain in the unit," Cohn says. "There is some obligation on the part of the bank to know if they're dealing with the renter, or owner."

As similar federal law protects renters as well.

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