New Bill Doubles Fines for Illegal Construction

Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau introduces bill to increase DCRA fines

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Contact: Tom Fazzini, tfazzini@dccouncil.us, office: (202) 724-8180, mobile: (202) 262-8998

WASHINGTON — A bill introduced today in the DC Council would increase fines for shoddy home repairs, poor construction, condemnation, and vacant properties. The bill from Ward 1 DC Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau doubles these fines from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and then ties them to inflation. The bill also clarifies that DCRA can use its authority to issue multiple fines for repeat violators.

“This bill is a response to what we’re hearing from constituents and news reports about outdated fines that are too low to deter bad behavior by unscrupulous contractors and developers,” said Nadeau. “Homebuyers don’t want to feel like they’re playing roulette when they’re buying a house. We need to give DCRA the tools it needs to enforce our laws and support safe housing.”

Some fines haven’t been updated in over 20 years. Under the bill, a violation such as failure to obtain a permit for building operations would change from $2,000 for the first offense to $4,000 for the first offense.

Nadeau is joined by co-introducers Councilmembers Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) and Brandon Todd (D-Ward 4), all fellow members of the Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, which has oversight of DCRA. Cosponsors are Councilmembers Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7), Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5) and Anita Bonds (D-At Large).

This bill complements Councilmember Nadeau's successful amendment to increase the number of housing inspectors at DCRA. Taken together, they create more powerful enforcement and ultimately safer housing conditions across the District. In February, Councilmembers Nadeau and Orange hosted a Ward 1 Town Hall on BCRA issues at which residents shared problems with holding bad contractors accountable.

A copy of the bill is below:

About Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau

In her many years of service to the community, Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau (D-Ward 1) has brought perspectives from a career that spans the non-profit, public and private sectors. She is committed to strengthening our schools, increasing affordable housing and promoting government transparency and the highest ethical standards. Prior to joining the Council, she was a strategic advisor to faith-based, Democratic and environmental non-profits, and is a former ANC. Follow her on Twitter @brianneknadeau or at Facebook.com/brianneknadeau.

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