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Prince George’s Co. Tenants Charge Apartment Owners with Human Rights Violations | Events

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Prince George’s Co. Tenants Charge Apartment Owners with Human Rights Violations
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Prince George’s Co. Tenants Charge Apartment Owners with Human Rights Violations

WHAT:     Rally for housing with dignity

WHEN:     Tuesday, October 9th at 2:30 PM

WHERE:   14th Street and Kanawha St., Langley Park, MD

WHO:   CASA de Maryland, St. Camillus Church, Sacred Family Lutheran Church, St. Michaels and St. Matthews Episcopal Church, the Business Association of Union Mall, and Tenants from Bedford Station, Victoria Station, Newbury Sq.                                                                                                                                          

This Tuesday, tenants from several absentee landlord bank-owned properties will rally with their neighbors to call attention to the health, public safety and human rights crisis occurring in their apartments in Prince George’s County.

In April of 2010, a portfolio of Prince George’s apartment complexes, more than 1050 units including Bedford Station, Victoria Station, and Newbury Square, were repurchased at a foreclosure sale by out-of-state bank CW Capital.  Just last month, CW Capital has been acquired by Walker and Dunlop, yet one more investment bank.

After the properties were purchased at foreclosure, apartment management company Laramar Specialty Services took over daily operations.  Under Laramar’s direction, residents of the apartments have suffered conditions including cockroaches, mice, and/or bed bugs, holes in the walls, destroyed cabinets, black mold in windows and hallways, and heating systems or air-conditioning that remains unrepaired. In recent weeks there have been multiple incidences of roof collapses and severe flooding that have left tenants injured and their homes uninhabitable.  Recently, Laramar hired a private security company to intimidate residents.  Those guards have ordered residents to remain inside their apartments and have harassed parents as they wait to pick up their children from county-designated school bus stops.  Carrying guns, security guards have demanded residents over their ID and proceed to his or her apartment without any explanation. 

The most recent uptick in problems at the apartments have followed numerous failed attempts by tenants to negotiate directly with both the owners and management company of the properties.  The recent purchase by Walker and Dunlop, Freddie Mac’s third largest seller-servicer, brings a sharp lens to the connection between what tenants charge are human rights violations occurring in Prince George’s County and the national foreclosure crisis.  A super-majority of Walker and Dunlop’s portfolio is connected to the uncertain future of Fannie/Freddie, an instability that bodes poorly for an adequate resolution of the conditions being experienced by their Prince George’s County tenants.

Tuesday’s conference will feature speeches by community leaders including representatives from 4 churches, the Office of Human Rights of Guatemala (the country of origin for a majority of the tenants), and local business leaders.  Tenants have invited representatives the Prince George’s County Chief of Police and Director of the Department of Environmental Resources, responsible for conditions investigations.

Post by: Susana Flores, Communication Specialist from CASA de Maryland


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