Georgetown University is making a list and checking it twice--and then sharing that list with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA).
Landlords will receive a letter from the University in the next week asking them to sign a pledge to follow basic housing laws and to be a partner with GU to address issues impacting quality of life in the community. The University will then create a list of landlords who have signed the pledge and will continue to update a list of "properties of concern," a naughty and nice list if you would.
The letter, sent by Anne Koester, director of off-campus student life (OCSL), and Margie Bryant, associate vice-president auxiliary business services, asks landlords to "declare your commitment to maintaining the quality of life in our community to your neighbors publicly." (See attached PDFs of letter and pledge).
In turn, GU promises to promote landlords who sign the pledge and to recommend them to students through a list on the university's website.
Additionally, the university spells out its policy of putting landlords on the naughty list.
"Properties with repeated, unresolved complaints will be placed on a List of Properties of Concern, publicly published on the University website" states the letter.
Currently there are ten properties on the list of concern on the OCSL website (consult map above).
Georgetown officials have met with DCRA officials to work on a closer collaboration to ensure that landlords housing students off-campus are complying with District rules, including holding a business license and meeting home inspection requirements.
Recently, DCRA shared a list of registered landlords in the 20007 zip code with the university. Georgetown will then compare that list with the known locations of students living in off-campus housing; GU is one of the only D.C. universities that requires students who live off campus to register where they live.
"This is the first time that we’ve been engaged in this level of information sharing," said Helder Gil, a legislative affairs specialist at DCRA. "It's sort of an interesting experiment...a pilot that we’re trying out with them."
He expects to get a list back shortly from the university of properties where students are living but for which there is no corresponding landlord license. DCRA will then contact the landlords to try to bring them into compliance. If efforts to do so do not work out, landlords without licenses are fined $2,000.
"The administrators, I think try to gear students towards going for the licensed folks," said Gil.
DCRA will also have a more robust presence on campus during the seasons when students begin looking for housing, to inform them of their rights as tenants.
"We’ll try this pilot out, see how it works and hopefully get more people into compliance," said Gil.