Tenants Fight Back Against Notorious Landlord

7:16 PM, Feb 17, 2011   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) - - Tenants who live in the apartment buildings on the 1400 block of Tuckerman St., NW, say David Nuyen is a slumlord.  They are suing him for allegedly ignoring their unsafe and unsanitary living conditions.

A 9NEWS NOW crew was the only one invited as inspectors toured the 28-unit apartment building Thursday afternoon.  The director of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), Nick Majett, snapped pictures of expired fire extinguishers, torn out smoke alarms, roaches, and peeling paint. 

One portion of the building has already tested positive for lead paint. 

Ana Reis says she has thrown out several mattresses, even ripped out her carpet because her children keep getting bit by bed bugs.  She also pointed to water damage and mold in the apartment.  "I just want him to fix the problems," she said, "but he's told us, 'If you want to live here then shut up, if not, then leave.'"

DCRA Director Majett said, "Once I learned it was this landlord who had severe violations on his property, I personally came out to inspect to make sure this gets the attention it deserves."

In 2002, David Nuyen was sentenced to two years behind bars after admitting he did not tell tenants about lead in their apartments.  At the time, the court found eight children who lived in the units were exposed to dangerous levels of lead. 

The kids at the Tuckerman apartments will be tested for their lead levels next week.

Nuyen was the first landlord in the nation to be held criminally responsible for violating lead laws.  At the time, he was ordered to get rid of his 15 properties.  He has held on to four.

According to DCRA, Nuyen's Tuckerman St. property was cited for numerous violations.  If he doesn't fix the problems within 30 days, he faces fines.  The city could also make the repairs and bring Nuyen to court, even put a lien on his property.

"We will be coordinating with the Attorney General's office to see if he is violating the terms of his probation and if he's properly licensed," said DCRA Director Majett.

Written by Delia Goncalves

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