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Terrace Manor Apartments to be renovated, following OAG lawsuit

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The few residents that are currently living at the Terrace Manor Apartments in Southeast D.C. tell ABC7 that change has been needed for a very long time.

The property, which is mostly filled with boarded up apartments, still has a few residents despite years of persistent problems, which have been pointed out by the city.

Antoine Owens' 73-year-old grandmother has lived in the housing complex for more than 10 years, and he says he is worried about her.

"We try to keep the buildings clean as much as we can, but we only can do so much,” said Owens.

Owens has noticed numerous issues within the apartment that cause safety concerns, including a broken smoke detector, mold, a broken refrigerator, clogged vents, a hole in the apartment's ceiling, holes in her walls and an unsecured lock.

"We still waiting for repairs now and it has been over a month ...They want the rent money, but they ain't nothing really getting done,” said Owens.

The attorney general's office has now stepped in to help people like Owens' grandmother.

The owners of the building, including, Sanford Capital, will now work with the court to ensure that tenants are treated fairly.

“Protecting affordable housing in the district is a priority at OAG, and this abatement plan is a strong first step toward ensuring that the remaining tenants at Terrace Manor can live in habitable homes," said Attorney General Karl Racine in a statement. "The plan calls for renovating two buildings on the property and relocating current residents."

“It makes me feel a little better, but the people are still suffering here, because they need things fixed,” said Owens.

Read below for more on the abatement plan from The Office of the Attorney General:

Abatement Plan Highlights

The abatement plan to which both parties have agreed and that Superior Court Judge John M. Mott has approved includes two major phases. Those phases address the short-term resolution of housing code violations and a longer-term renovation of portions of the property. A copy of the plan is attached.

Short-term provisions in the plan include:

  • The assignment of a dedicated inspector for the property from the District’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA); the inspector will confirm any Housing Code violations from past inspections that remain outstanding and note any additional violations at the property;
  • Sanford must abate those violations rapidly and report the work to DCRA and OAG; the inspector will then return and re-inspect the repairs for compliance within 10 days;
  • Any abatement action the inspector deems incomplete will constitute a breach of the abatement plan;
  • Within 30 days of the agreement, Sanford will clean the entire property, including vacant units; abate any mold problems and rodent or insect infestations; replace drywall where necessary; clean up all trash and debris in common areas; and secure vacant units and post “No Trespassing” signs on them.

Longer-term provisions in the plan include:

  • Sanford agrees to fully renovate two buildings on the property with a view to moving all remaining Terrace Manor tenants into those buildings once all tenants agree in writing to relocate;
  • The rehabilitation will include new drywall, flooring, appliances, HVAC, and laundry accommodations;
  • Sanford will waive rent for the remaining tenants from the time construction commences on the fully renovated buildings until the rehabilitation is complete, which the plan requires to be 90 days or less from the time that Sanford acquires the proper permits;
  • Sanford will pay all moving expenses for tenants, set rental rates at all tenants’ current amounts, and commit not to increase the rent for 12 months following the completion of rehabilitation;
  • Sanford will ensure that vacant units in the non-rehabilitated buildings at the property remain secured and inaccessible to squatters, vermin and illegal activity;
  • Sanford will establish a 24-hour hotline for emergency repairs, respond quickly to requests, and keep a log of all emergency repairs undertaken;
  • The District will provide police reports from the property to Sanford; if patterns of calls/criminal activity are noted, Sanford will increase security measures;
  • Sanford will perform routine exterminations every 30 days for the next two months, and every 60 days thereafter;
  • If Sanford rehabilitates or renovates other units at the property, tenants will retain the right of return to their original units.
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This is the second suit the Attorney General has brought against Sanford for a pattern of neglect at an affordable housing complex in Ward 8. Last year, the District sought and received an abatement plan for a Sanford-owned property in Congress Heights.

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