Although the DCRA article in last week’s Washington City Paper did a good job of describing some of the game-playing within the agency (“DCRA: Defending the City’s Ruling Aristocracy,” 6/30), it is important to note that many of the more damning points regarding condominium purchases were missed.
In the case of our 14-unit development and the issues we now face (extensive water damage from leaks throughout the entire property), all or most of them could have been avoided had DCRA done its job. Our condominium documents were approved and settlement was allowed to occur without inspections, a final occupancy permit, lot and square numbers, a water meter, fire escapes, or the required amount of developer warranty bond. The developer warranty bond is supposed to be 10 percent of the developer’s cost of development/renovation. In our case, that amount was $1.5 million, and the amount of the developer warranty bond should have been $150,000 but was instead $100,000. The fact that DCRA does not have a procedure in place to handle the release of the bond has delayed the release of the funds and the repair of the issues/extensive damage for a full year.
DCRA has had $100,000 of the developer warranty money in their possession since February of this year. In February, we were told it would be released to our association. After two months of attempting to get approval from the D.C. Office of Procurement to release the money, we were told that instead, DCRA would release it directly to whatever contractor it chose to do the work. A minimum of 10 more visits were made to the property by multiple contractors over a four-month period—and still the money was held up. Now, after a full year of trying to get the money for repairs and six months since DCRA has had the money in its possession, we are told the money will be released directly to our association. The issue of the remaining $50,000 is still outstanding.
In addition to everything else, because DCRA approved the condo docs without checking to see if any of the subcontractors listed even existed, we have no warranties on any of the major structures and no contact information for the subcontractors who supposedly did the work. Because the lot and square numbers were not established prior to approval of the condo docs/settlement, the deeds were not filed until we discovered the issue, almost one year after settlement.