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I grieved and felt relieved by Ryan Grim’s story. Richard Luchs treats tenants’ rights and landlord-tenant laws like toilet paper. I grieved remembering that it was months before my neighbors and I realized he had manipulated the sale of our 648-unit apartment complex, Capitol Park in Southwest in October 2002. By February 2003—finding management indifferent and Sharon Ambrose unresponsive—we filed tenant petitions at DCRA, complaining that the daily construction and demolition insults and vastly diminished services, along with the expectation that we would be required to pay 1 percent-plus annual rent increases, clearly violated tenant protections in the law.
At our first hearing, three months later, Hearing Examiner Gerald Roper and others expressed surprise that no one appeared for management (ARMC), particularly since regular attendee Luchs represented them. After some mock confusion, DCRA rent administrator Raenelle Zapata reached Luchs by cell phone and learned he did not intend to attend as DCRA no longer had jurisdiction over our petitions. Roper took nearly seven more months to side with Luchs and rule that the D.C. Housing Finance Agency (HFA) had jurisdiction. Ironically, the HFA had as little interest in our homes as DCRA did. HFA director Milton Bailey actually took responsibility for approving 12 percent annual rent increases, but not 12.1 percent or more, so some of us were due refunds of pennies; he should be the subject of another story.
We take great relief in knowing that Luchs is losing luck and loopholes. We’ve suffered far too long with Luchs and the like.