The answer is: Receivership
The question is posed by the headline of this Washington City Paper article, "What Can Elected Officials Do About D.C. Slumlords?" From the article:
“It’s frustrating because we have incredibly strong tenant protections, and yet negligent landlords still find a way to persist,” [Councilmember] Nadeau says. “That’s one of the biggest challenges that we face.”I wrote about this earlier in the month (See "Receivership as a strategy for notorious nuisance properties"), in response to a City Paper cover story on a slumlord, making the same point:
Receivership.In that article, Mari commented (which I seem to have missed), writing:
Why they aren't being seized... might be because of what happens the day after the property is seized.
DC government is a lousy landowner. When DC Gov takes a property it will sit vacant for years..... YEARS. DC Gov also doesn't appear interested in being a landlord. To hand if off to a non-profit seems interesting, but what non-profit out there that presently exists that is a real non-profit and not a "non-profit" that only exists to get contracts from municipalities?
Taking a property would make an impact, but it would also use up a lot of resources.This is my response:
I missed this comment. You are of course, absolutely right.
In my early writings, I joked that DC's primary property management strategy is "demolition by neglect." And that in an objective evaluation, using criteria of the Housing Courts in Ohio, DCG wouldn't be deemed a credible and eligible receiver, based on past practice.
That's why starting from the very beginning, I've argued that DCG shouldn't be the receiver, but capable nonprofits.
In Ohio, such activities are monitored by the Housing Court, so a receiver has to act, implement the plan to cure the nuisance, or they lose control of the property too. And receivers that fail don't get properties awarded to them in the future. [added -- Failure is not rewarded, unlike the current process.]
I can't claim to know all the ins and outs of the various nonprofits in DC, but one that I observe to be very credible is Jubilee Housing. An organization like that could become a receiver. (There are some good for profit property managers. They could act as receivers too.)
In Cleveland, it was the Cleveland Restoration Society (but because the job was so difficult, they got out of it for awhile). They were motivated to save historic properties from demolition.
And recently I wrote about a "nonprofit" business in Philadelphia set up to cure nuisances and make them habitable, usable properties that strengthen the neighborhood. (I can't claim to like their design choices but they do good work otherwise.) See "A great example of the market at work: making a business in restoring blighted properties/curing nuisances (Philadelphia)."