Today’s blog is the third and last in a series of stories previewing this Saturday’s 6th Annual Citywide Tenant Town Hall. The town hall will be held from 1-4 pm at the All Souls Unitarian Church. RSVP on our Facebook event page.
One of the big victories tenants have won at previous Tenant Town Halls is the right to sue their landlords in DC Superior Court over housing code violations. Before, only landlords could take tenants to court, but thanks to tenant organizing, DC renters now have a powerful tool to take action to improve conditions in their apartments.
But what if the problem in your apartment is mold?
If you have mold growing on the walls or ceiling or anyplace else in your apartment and you get a housing inspection from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), the inspectors will tell you they can only cite the landlord for visible “dampness” or leaks in the walls or ceiling, but not for mold. So there is no mechanism for tenants to enforce their right to healthy housing that is free of mold.
One of the demands of this year’s Town Hall is for the DC Department of the Environment and DCRA housing inspectors to implement programs to inspect for mold (including testing for airborne mold spores), and hold landlords responsible for properly eliminating mold and its underlying sources.