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DCRA Announces Settlement With American Residential Services Over Investigation into Permitting Activity

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Today, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) announced that American Residential Services, LLC dba as ARS and John C. Dorsey Inc. will be required to pay $182,500 as part of a settlement to resolve a multi-year investigation. The settlement resolves DCRA’s claims that ARS obtained plumbing permits under the name and license of a former employee who was a licensed Master Plumber and failed to legally register the trade name John C. Dorsey Inc., which it had previously acquired.

Following its investigation, which began in 2017, DCRA issued 63 Notices of Infraction against ARS. Violations included construction performed without a permit, permit applicant not being a licensed tradesperson, operating after a Certificate of Registration had terminated, failure to obtain an inspection, and failure to register a trade name in the District.

“We support small businesses in the District; however, they must be properly registered and licensed,” said DCRA Director Ernest Chrappah. “Enforcement processes are never quick; however, we will continue doing everything we can to protect consumers and hold contractors accountable.”

ARS contested DCRA’s allegations, and the parties have now agreed to a settlement to resolve the claims and avoid further litigation. As part of the settlement, ARS agreed to pay $182,500 to the District and took corrective action regarding the 63 Notices of Infraction, including obtaining new permits with an employed licensed Master Plumber and scheduling DCRA inspections on the properties involved.

“Cases like this demonstrate the need for greater oversight,” Chrappah added. “This is precisely why DCRA has launched innovative products like Tertius, our third-party inspections marketplace that increases our ability to monitor and identify improper activity in near real-time and a Contractor Rating System to empower residents in making informed decisions about who to hire.”