WASHINGTON, DC – Attorney General Brian Schwalb today announced that the owners and manager of two subsidized apartment complexes in Ward 8 - Atlantic Terrace and Southern Hills - will pay $2 million in penalties and restitution, including rent credits, for violating DC law and endangering more than 400 tenants. An investigation by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) uncovered evidence of hundreds of housing code violations at the two affordable housing properties, including many that threatened the health, safety, and well-being of tenants. To resolve OAG’s investigation, the property management company and property owners will pay restitution in the form of rent credits to hundreds of tenants across 451 units, pay $1.15 million in penalties to the District, complete remaining repairs, and ensure the properties remain safe and habitable in the future.
“Far too many DC residents are living in unstable, substandard, unlawful conditions – an unacceptable reality that the Office of the Attorney General is attacking every day,” said AG Schwalb. “Every DC tenant has the right to live in safe and healthy conditions, and this right is especially critical as affordable housing in the District becomes increasingly scarce. Thanks to our dedicated attorneys and investigators, hundreds of tenants at Atlantic Terrace and Southern Hills will receive rent credits to compensate them for the substandard and hazardous conditions they were required to live with. When housing providers—including those that provide subsidized housing—systematically neglect their properties and force their tenants to live in unsafe, unlawful units, we will use every legal tool available to hold them accountable.”
“I want to thank AG Schwalb and his team for listening and taking action on behalf of our residents,” said Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White. “I am looking forward to more to come.”
Southern Hills is a 255-unit apartment complex and Atlantic Terrace is a 196-unit apartment complex. Both are site-based HUD subsidized properties located in Washington Highlands in Ward 8 and are managed by Winn Managed Properties LLC. Southern Hills is owned by Southern Hills Limited Partnership and Atlantic Terrace is owned by Atlantic Terrace Limited Partnership.
OAG began investigating conditions at Southern Hills and Atlantic Terrace after receiving reports that tenants were living in uninhabitable conditions. OAG’s investigation revealed evidence of hundreds of serious housing code violations across the two properties, including many that threatened the health, safety, and well-being of the over 400 tenants and their family members who call the complexes home. Inspections by the District’s Department of Buildings and the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development documented rodent and bug infestations, leaks and water damage, broken plumbing fixtures, broken and insecure doors and windows, missing smoke detectors, chipping and peeling lead-based paint, structural issues, and numerous other problems at the properties.
Since OAG began its investigation, Winn Managed Properties has made efforts to repair and improve conditions at the two complexes. Atlantic Terrace has been redeveloped, and the company has plans to soon redevelop Southern Hills.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Winn Managed Properties and the entities that own Atlantic Terrace and Southern Hills must:
- Provide rent credits to harmed tenants: Current tenants at Southern Hills and Atlantic Terrace will receive restitution in the form of rent credits to acknowledge and compensate them for living in dangerous conditions. Tenants at Atlantic Terrace will receive a credit equal to half their rent for six months, and tenants at Southern Hills will receive a credit equal to half their rent for twelve months. This will amount to a total of $850,000.
- Pay $1.15 million in penalties to the District.
- Complete repairs and conduct ongoing maintenance: The owners and managers of the properties are required to repair any remaining housing violations within 60 days of the settlement. They are also required to ensure the complexes are maintained moving forward, and to report out on compliance to the District.
A copy of the settlement agreement is available here.
OAG will hold a public information session for Atlantic Terrace and Southern Hills tenants on Thursday, October 12, 2023, at 7:00pm to provide additional information about the settlement and answer any questions.
Resources for Tenants
OAG works to make sure residents across the District have access to safe and affordable housing and holds landlords accountable if they violate the law. Access OAG’s resources to help renters and tips on how to report problems with your landlord or your housing conditions.