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For Immediate Release: Tuesday, January 8, 2019

County Executive Marc Elrich has directed the Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) to extend its inspection at The Enclave Silver Spring to include every apartment. In September 2018, DHCA inspected 262 apartments, or 23 percent of all units. Beginning today, DHCA will inspect the remaining 857 apartments at the complex, which includes 1,119 units.

“It is unacceptable to live in such conditions. I appreciate the DHCA working with partners to make these inspections happen quickly and showing responsiveness in stepping up the inspection process,” said Elrich. “This is a first step in correcting deficiencies and other impediments to providing a healthy and safe environment at the property. We are committed to addressing these problems as expeditiously as possible.”

Located in White Oak near the intersection of Routes 29 and 650, The Enclave Silver Spring consists of three high-rise buildings. During the inspection on September 13, 2018, DHCA identified 367 violations, or 1.4 violations per unit. Of the total violations, 60 were life/safety including 33 violations regarding mold, 15 regarding roaches, and 12 regarding smoke detectors.

“No one should have to live with mold, roaches and rodents,” said Councilmember Tom Hucker, who represents District 5, home to the Enclave Silver Spring Apartments. “It's outrageous that inspectors found more than 360 housing code violations in only 23 percent of the units there. I'm grateful that the County Executive ordered the Housing Department to meet my request to inspect 100 percent of the units. These are clearly problem units that need regular inspections to document the conditions and put pressure on the landlord to fix them.”

There has been an uptick in the number of complaints at The Enclave Silver Spring. The County received 113 complaints in 2018. During the previous four years the County received a total of 41 complaints.

The surge inspection at The Enclave Silver Spring is part of DHCA’s implementation of Bill 19-15, a tenant protection measure that calls for stepped-up inspections of multifamily apartments. Bill 19-15 requires a two-year intensive inspection program to be completed by July 1, 2019. This program is underway and will identify troubled properties. Thus far, of the 689 applicable multifamily rental properties in Montgomery County, 590 properties, or 86 percent, have been inspected or are set to be inspected soon. Altogether, over 21,000 units have been inspected under Bill 19-15’s two-year “inspection surge.”

During inspections of each multifamily apartment building, DHCA issues notices of violations or citations, as appropriate, and inspects again until corrected. As warranted, DHCA may inspect every unit at a property.

DHCA is creating an inventory of multifamily apartment buildings and the status of each to identify those that require extra attention to remain in compliance. A “Troubled Properties” list will be published as soon as County Council approves the regulation. That list will include multifamily apartment buildings with multiple housing code violations which are required to develop a corrective action plan; such properties will be inspected annually.

“We continue to move forward and make progress in meeting the requirements of the tenant rights bill. We have accelerated the delivery of a few items too. One, in particular, is the Troubled Property List, which was originally slated to be published on July 1. Thanks to hard work from our code staff, managers and IT personnel, we are in a position to publish the list much sooner than anticipated. The list will be published online on a new, interactive Tenant – Landlord website, which will include a number of other useful features,” stated Tim Goetzinger, acting director of DHCA.

As part of this renewed effort, DHCA has relaunched the “Renters Have Rights” outreach campaign, whereby renters are encouraged to contact DHCA to learn about their rights and DHCA remains available to help mediate conflicts between renters and landlords. The campaign directs people to call 3-1-1, which would enable residents to file anonymous complaints and learn how Montgomery County can provide free, confidential help to ensure housing safety, mediate conflicts, and otherwise advocate for tenants.

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Release ID: 19-006
Media Contact: Lorraine Driscoll 240-777-6533