November 2, 2021
Park 7 tenants have experienced prolonged racial and economic mistreatment
from the building owners and property management company
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON – The Superior Court of the District of Columbia has approved a first-of-its kind tenant right to organize consent agreement between Park 7 Tenant Union and tenants of Park 7 Apartments, an affordable housing apartment building located in D.C.’s Ward 7 comprised mainly of Black residents, and the property’s owner, Park 7 Residential LP, and its management company, 3801 Management LP. The agreement applies the District’s Tenants’ Right to Organize Law and solidifies Park 7 tenants’ unhindered right to organize in order to address the conditions of the property that have been unsafe and unsanitary for years. In addition, the agreement provides procedural steps that require management to respond to and participate in meetings to address and resolve Park 7 Tenant Union concerns.
The original suit claims Defendants have waged a years-long obstruction campaign against tenants who have actively organized to protest the deteriorating conditions in the Park 7 Apartment building. Since opening in 2014, Park 7 has lapsed into deterioration, including hallways piled with garbage, chronic leaks and water damage, pervasive mold, security hazards, inoperable appliances, and widespread pest infestations.
The right of tenants to organize and collectively address problems in their buildings is particularly acute as the District of Columbia faces the multiple crises of expiring eviction moratoria, increasing displacement, and patterns of gentrification that are exacerbating racial segregation in housing. It is one of many important tools to protect the power of tenants to live in safe, decent and affordable housing of choice.
“This agreement will help tenants stand on more even footing with the management and allow us to negotiate for better living conditions without interference or fear of retaliation,” said Tara Maxwell, President of the Park 7 Tenant Union.
“This court-enforceable consent agreement will cement the right of Park 7 tenants to collectively organize to push the owner and property manager to address unsafe and unsanitary conditions tenants have been living with for years. The agreement protects tenants’ right to meet without landlord interference, as well as requires the owner and property manager to confer with and respond to tenant representatives’ concerns on a regular basis. This consent decree is the first court order applying and enforcing the DC Tenants’ Right to Organize statute,” said Brook Hill, counsel at the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.
“Tenant rights laws in Washington, D.C. are clear: residents have a right to freely organize,” said Brian Corman, the Cohen Milstein attorney handling the case. “We are pleased the court agrees and approved this groundbreaking consent agreement that ensures Park 7 tenants can safely organize, meet, and distribute literature in order to advocate for improved building conditions and hold management accountable. This consent decree will serve as a model for other tenants in the District of Columbia and provide a pathway for advocacy and organizing without the threat of retaliation.”
The plaintiffs are represented by the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs and Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC.
A link to the consent agreement can be found here.
A link to the original filed complaint can be found here.
ABOUT THE WASHINGTON LAWYERS’ COMMITTEE: Founded in 1968, The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs works to create legal, economic and social equity through litigation, client and public education and public policy advocacy. While we fight discrimination against all people, we recognize the central role that current and historic race discrimination plays in sustaining inequity and recognize the critical importance of identifying, exposing, combatting and dismantling the systems that sustain racial oppression. For more information, please visit www.washlaw.org or call 202.319.1000. Follow us on Twitter at @WashLaw4CR.
ABOUT COHEN MILSTEIN SELLERS & TOLL PLLC: Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC is a national leader in plaintiff class action lawsuits and civil rights-related litigation. As one of the premier plaintiffs in the United States, Cohen Milstein has more than 100 attorneys in offices in Washington, D.C., Chicago, IL, New York, NY, Philadelphia, PA, Palm Beach Gardens, FL, and Raleigh, NC. For more information, visit https://www.cohenmilstein.com or call 202.408.4600.
Gregg Kelley, Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs Gregg_Kelley@washlaw.org, 202-319-1070