Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Eviction in the 1300 Block

If you saw the mountains of stuff piled on the south side of H Street, you saw the aftermath of the eviction. Reverend Bynum's church was evicted after (I'm told) a long period of not paying rent. The Reverend was seen moving several truck loads of church materials to an unknown location. Tragically, the church was playing landlord to a number of rent paying tenants (including one family with young children), but the church reportedly failed to notify at least some of the tenants of the impending eviction (leaving their stuff out on the street & fair game to any passerby).

I've since learned that the information I received was not entirely correct. The individuals living in the church were not paying rent. That makes them squatters, not renters. It still appears that they did not have notice of the eviction, but it also appears that the actual property owner tries to assist them so they wouldn't just be out on the street. Obviously there is more to this tory than just the details I have seen & heard.


Anonymous said...

What church was his?

Mari said...

That is very, very unfortunate for the families renting. There are supposed to be strong tenant protection laws in the city, what happened?

inked said...

I don't know the name of the church. It's right across from R&B Coffee. Dc does have very strong tenant protection laws, but I'm not sure what happens when you are talking about a subleter who pays rent to the tenant, rather than directly to the owner. I would guess that the church would probably be liable for this mess (but I'm not an attorney). I doubt there is any money left anywhere. I did hear that the building owner was temporarily storing some items for the subletters (items the subletters were able to grab from the street) & temporarily putting at least some of them up in a hotel. I heard an unconfirmed rumor that the church someohow owed about $80k in back rent. Also, I understand that the church was operating as a boarding house, so you aren't likely to have written leases. Tenants still have rights in DC even without written leases, and anyone subletting should too, but I don't know what happens in a situation exactly like this one.

Anonymous said...

What the hell is LISC doing honoring somebody who seems to be in clear violation of housing laws?

Is it just me or does this sound really shady?

mark said...

Why is LISC honoring a seemingly shady character? Read closely: "Rev. Bynum was nominated by the H Street CDC to receive this award."

'nuf said.

Marc said...

Umm, guys, I believe this was the Reverend who was shot for trying to organize the community against drugs and violence back when this neighborhood was in the midst of the crack epidemic. Getting capped for speaking up back when most of the community was too afraid to deserves some kind of award.

What shocked me was the amount of stuff that got thrown in the street from the evictions- it looked like an entire Salvation Army store thrown inside out.

Anonymous said...

This is also the who under the religious umbella broke housing safety laws, and deceived people. What if there had been a fire?
I know he gave away alot of food and clothes but someone should have inspecting the building.

Anonymous said...

I think you are rushing to conclusions and being a little judgemental. It was not right if he did not notify people, but if you don't go to the church its hard to say. Maybe the guy could not afford the rent. Its happening a lot of places, rents are getting jacked up so high that its hard for folks to make ends meet.

Anonymous said...

I learned the following from the people who evicted Bynum and his tenants:

The owner of the property is a Mr. Lee. Bynum was renting the church and a next door apartment building with 3 apartments. Bynum had not paid rent since 2004 and owed Mr. Lee $80,000.

Bynum screwed his tenants over royally. He colllected their rent but never passed the money onto Mr. Lee. And he did not warn his tenants that the eviction was coming. They were quite surprised at 10 a.m. when the marshalls and the eviction crew threw them out on the street.

The three apartments were rented by: 1. a family of two parents and 3 children. 2. A young man named Tony who was on probation for previous crimes and 3. A couple named Wendy and Earl. Earl worked as a security guard at the Atlas Theater.

Bynum saved his own stuff from the church by hauling it away in a truck. Apparently he was expected what was coming and even was seen laughing at the situation.

Bynum's tenants are taking him to court. They have receipts to show that they paid their rent. I was told by another source that the family received some sort of aid and was living in a hotel.

There was a lot of stuff dumped in back of the building in addition to the furniture on the sidewalk.

There is no excuse for Bynum's not paying his rent. He owns a construction company and makes good money.

I had reported that Tony might be a drug dealer and urged the Captain to obtain his last name. 1378 is more of a problem than Bynum's property ever was however. People come and go into that building all night long to buy, sell or smoke crack.

Bryce A. Suderow

Anonymous said...

Just move the residents' stuff from the sidewalk to the curb lane, and it will be safe for as long as they want. Churches and church-people are exempt from all parking regulations. Which makes sense, if you think about it, because they pay no taxes.

inked said...

The story laid out above by Bryce is consistent with the facts as I have heard them from others. I am glad to hear that the tenants will be taking legal action. Basedon the story as I understand it, they should have a very strong case.