WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, the Council of the District of Columbia gathered for the sixteenth legislative meeting of Council Period 22 at the John A. Wilson Building. Shortly after a quorum was announced, Councilmember Bonds moved to introduce two pieces of legislation: one that would increase environmental sustainability in multifamily buildings, and another that would accelerate the improvement of living conditions for District tenants suffering in properties with housing code violations.

Under the “Green Building Residential Metering Amendment Act of 2017”, developers will be required to install individual utility meters in newly constructed residential buildings. This will allow local utility providers to measure each individual unit’s utility consumption and equitably distribute costs, as residents will only pay for the resources they use. This will be of particular benefit to condominium owners and co-op members, and will encourage residents to adopt long-term, eco-friendly behaviors. In her opening remarks, Councilmember Bonds noted that “… the District has made great strides in its approach to sustainability…” and that “the city’s health and ‘greenness’… are top priorities”.

Councilmember Bonds also introduced the “Housing Code Enforcement Integrity Amendment Act of 2017.” This bill addresses concerns regarding the time it takes to cure housing code violations. Currently, once the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs issues a building code infraction, it can take years for property owners to correct unlawful conditions. This is due in part to infractions being tied up in the appeals process and the fact that the agency does not have legally defined criteria by which non-appeal deadline extension requests are granted. To remedy this matter, this bill will require that hearings be held for all housing code violation appeals within 10 days of receiving notice of appeal, and that the Mayor correct any conditions constituting a Class 1, 2, or 3 violation that have gone unabated for six months following notice to the property owner and collect cost from the property owner via real property tax assessment.

During an emergency press conference on Monday, Councilmember Bonds joined Mayor Bowser and the District of Columbia Housing Financing Agency to announce the issuance of $500 million worth of Private Activity Bonds (PABs) to protect on-going affordable housing efforts in light of the threats posed by the federal “Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts.” Emergency legislation to secure bond financing due to the dangers of this federal action will follow in the coming weeks.