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DCRA Announces Enforcement and Consumer Protection Enhancements

Tuesday, April 2, 2019
DCRA Announces Enforcement and Consumer Protection Enhancements

Washington, D.C. – The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) is launching a series of efforts to strengthen consumer protection by streamlining its housing code compliance and enforcement activities.

Beginning in May, a Notice of Infraction (NOI), instead of a Notice of Violation (NOV) will be issued by housing inspectors whenever a housing code violation is not addressed. Along with speeding up the repair process, an NOI also includes an order to complete necessary repairs and a fine based on the type of code violations cited.

Over the last three fiscal years, a data analysis of nearly 30,700 housing and proactive inspections revealed that only about 3,400, where a violation was found, have been brought up to code using the NOV process.

“As a consumer protection agency, we know that rental housing units have a large and active client base demanding quality housing,” said Acting DCRA Director Ernest Chrappah. “Our goal is to ensure that tenants know that housing providers will be held accountable for housing code violations; especially repeat offenders.”

Other enhancements that will launch next month include inspectors using mobile tablets to access a housing provider’s violation history, and relevant data, and submit inspection reports from the field; rental housing providers receiving electronic alerts for housing code violations; and a map visualization of housing code violations throughout the city available on the DCRA Dashboard.

“These are important steps in our operational improvement that will ultimately improve housing conditions by accelerating compliance,” said Acting Director Chrappah. “This is part of our ongoing effort to simplify the agency’s processes and become more efficient in leveraging data to reveal trends and minimize loopholes.”

There are more than 28,500 family rental units and apartment buildings licensed by property owners in the District. Enhanced data analysis will provide greater flexibility in targeting historically problematic properties. This effort combined with on-site reporting from inspectors and streamlined NOI process will strengthen the agency’s ability to take effective enforcement actions to achieve greater levels of compliance.

By adopting these process changes, the agency will transform itself into a digitally enhanced organization that provides timely and value added service to its customers.