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The CHAIRMAN. It is very hard for the committee to consider that unless the names are given, so that they can be verified.
Miss RICHARDSON. We hope to present all the facts before the committee adjourns.
Senator Jones of Washington. The committee is going to close its hearings right away.
The CHAIRMAN. They are closed now.
(Whereupon, at 10.55 o'clock p. m., the hearings were concluded, and the committee adjourned.)
908 Twentieth Street NW. (6 apartments).
All of the above apartments have been redecorated and are in good condition.
FIDELITY STORAGE Co., By HARRY S. HAGEN,
Manager. Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 28th day of January, 1925. [SEAL)
JAMES L. KARRICK, Jr., Notary, District of Columbia.
WASHINGTON, D. C., January 28, 1925. WASHINGTON AssocIATION OF BUILDING OWNERS AND MANAGERS,
Washington, D. C. GENTLEMEN: In reply to your request for information as to reductions in the rentals of property owned by us, we hereby state as follows: The Woodland Apartments, 2301 Cathedral Avenue: Number of apartments-
60 Total annual rental, as of Oct. 1, 1922.
$63, 450 Total annual rental, as of Jan. 28, 1925
Net reduction --
Number of apartments---
44 $50, 610 48, 468
Net reduction.--2901 Connecticut Avenue:
Number of apartments--
64 $70, 620 68, 880
1, 740 I, Edgar S. Kennedy, president of Kennedy Bros. Co., do hereby certify that the forego'ng figures are correct to the best of my knowledge and belief. (SEAL]
EDGAR S. KENNEDY,
IN FAVOR OF RENT LEGISLATION
1228 Thirteenth Street, NW.,
Washington, D. C., January 20, 1925. Then personally appeared before me, Frederick A. Rhodes, a citizen of the United States and the District of Columbia, a bona fide resident, and being known to me to be the person affirming to the facts hereof:
That he agreed with the Capital Construction Co. to pay $57.50 for the premises 1228 Thirteenth Street, October 1, 1920.
They raised the rent to $65 in about a month and I demanded and procured a lease dated November 1, 1920, which in the original is herewith attached. They told me they intended to increase all the rents.
I inquired relative to purchase of the house when he put the rent up, as the rent I was paying would pretty near buy a place similar and pay for it in a few years.
On January 1, 1922, they made a New Year's suggestion to increase the rent again to $75. About that time there was considerable agitation among the people relative to rent increases; but you couldn't do much, there was no place to move to. I looked and looked, but couldn't find anything anywhere reasonable or that suited my particular condition.
I could not pay the increase, my expense was already heavy, and my pay was cut down. I put the case before the Rent Commission of the District, and every time the case came up the landlord put it off. We worried along and underwent the various tortures resorted to to force the increase of rents, which was people came daily to look the place over, stood outside looking in, rung the bell, walked up and down the rickety steps ; finally some Jews came from Wildman's and said they were going to buy it, but we never heard any more. What struck me was, if they were going to sell it, why wouldn't they sell it to me. I offered to pay them what they asked. So under the circumstances I barred the doors and thereafter no one came in. I simply had to do it. I also notified the police to keep them away; we were torture to de
Finally, August 23, 1923, over one year and practically nine months after the time they made the suggestion to me, the case came up at the Rent Commission, and the landlord happened to be there. My time is limited, and I had been called several times, and had to be inquiring all the time and it caused me considerable suffering I assure you. That is why I believe that the only proper means is to stabilize such conditions.
A number of Capital tenants were there; the manager called me over and stated he was satisfied with the rent and would give me a lease for a year. I never received the lease. I wrote to him and asked him, but I got tired of waiting, so I quit. If I wanted to sell my place out I couldn't sell it without having the lease, so I couldn't move, and I couldn't sell ; so what could I do?
The next thing we knew the Rent Commission was to go out of existence some time in early 1924, and some people came to me and told me that there was evidence that all those twenty-odd tenants had procured disfavor with the landlord, and I now refer you to the statement of Mr. F. W. Lewis, page 369, part 3, hearings February 25, 26, and 27, 1924. (Mr. Lewis, in answer to Mr. Hanimer):
" Mr. HAMMER. I do not know what you were brought here for. A gentleman has suggested what it was to me, and I have forgotten what it was that We would like to hear from you. I take it you want to give your opinion as to whether the Rent Commission ought to be continued or discontinued."
“ Mr. LEWIS. I think it ought to be continued. My experience with landlords here makes me feel sure that if it is discontinued I will be put out of a house. I will be set out on the street and will not have any place to go.
“I feel sure that a group of people in my neighborhood is in the same shape. I rent from the Capital Construction Co. There are 25 or 30 houses there, and the general impression among the renters is that if this law is allowed to expire, why, every one of them will be put out.
“ In fact, I have understood they made that threat because they had some case before the rent board, and I think that a chaotic condition will exist in the city of Washington if that rent board is not continued, because I understand a great many other people are just like the Capital Construction Co.are offended at renters-and they are going to put them out. I did not object very seriously to my rent being raised. It was raised from $10I had two
raises. The last raise that was effected, they raised it to $57.50, and then they wanted $70, and I objected to that and carried it before the Rent Commission, and they sustained me in that.
“ I would have had to pay $70, of course, if it had not been for the Rent Commission. The house is in a dilapidated condition."
My principal complaint was not regarding rent; I always paid what I agreed to pay; but I couldn't keep standing increase after increase, and these people are reliable people up there which Mr. Lewis represented, and I saw some of them, and the conditions among all of us were typical of the one portrayed, and which, I understand, was a more or less general condition from the hearings. We can not force the landlord to make repairs without the commission, and that was my principal complaint, outside of the fact I could not pay more than I was paying for that place in its dilapidated condition.
The principal defects which cost me money all the time are somewhat as follows:
1. The hot-water heater does not heat the top floor, I have to furnish gas to heat it. A steamfitter in the Government told me the heater was too small; it didn't have enough sections. It cost more than I could pay to have it fixed so I used the gas; but no one likes this kind of heat and I have trouble with the heat-the place is cold.
2. The ball in toilet was broken, the water ran for months, every time I paid the rent I called it to their attention, even threatening to go to the proper authorities which I didn't like to do because I knew it meant trouble for all of us; I tried to get a ball all over the city, it seems it was a special ball; finally after trying out a number of them at different times, I secured the proper ball after months of delay and trouble and extra water bills and people moving out on account of the noise which the seeping water made.
3. The water seeped through the bricks on account of the gutters getting jammed at various times, finally the water came through in heavy streams in the back and in the front of the house, and after long delay they came and fixed it after it spoiled all the paper in the front and rear of the house, and made a terrible noise as it fell to the steps in front annoying the people. No papering has been ever done since I was a tenant.
4. The windows are loose in the sashes and one pane of glass from the third story fell one day and barely missed Mrs. Dixon, one of the occupants of the place; a few feet more and it probably would have ended her life. Falling glass, I think, will kill anyone if it falls on you, but that's what we have to put up with. I always replaced broken windows at my expense.
5. The shades need renewing, front door glass broken, and the bell don't ring. I renewed some of the shades, but I am no millionaire, I can't pay rent and pay for all the upkeep of the place in addition.
6. The smoke from the heater went through one time into the next house through the bricks, and I had to get the services of various people before we found that the chimney was full of bricks.
7. When we first moved there, they had a man tending the three houses who kind of looked for things; when he died they never replaced him. A Mr. Hunt. He was a good man and did all the fixing around, but it didn't last long.
8. The back shutters fell off the house in pieces, yet nothing was done.
9. There is one bath in the house, and it is a gaslighted house, the heater would not heat the water, so I had to install a Rudd heater to get the proper hot water as needed, at my expense ($110, I believe). The gaslights cause extra expense for renewals on account of fixtures old and shaky, and you can not turn on the fixtures, they having become frozen. I told these people I would pay $70 a month if they put in the electricity; received no response. The rent previous to the war was $55 a month.
10. The steel stairs over the basement shake when you walk up them and the stone and brick are falling away in the front and rear of the house.
11. The paper hangs off the walls, but since I was not a paper hanger, I couldn't fix that, although I painted several of the rooms at my expense.
12. I had to renew all the smoke pipe to the chimney, because these will not last over a couple of years with a heavy fire.
13. The toilet in the rear yard does not flush, and I threatened to go to the authorities but nothing was done. I just let it go along and flushed it by hand.
14. The galvanizing around the sink corroded and causes bugs to accumulate, and you can understand how a place will look when the landlord hasn't done anything but just fix the roof since I moved there October 1920, four years and three month ago about.
This only gives you an idea of what we have to put up with in recent years. There's nothing fair about it. I consider when I pay my money to the landlord that he should keep the place in order. I paid him what he asked for the place. I did not agitate my complaints. I would ask him and if he didn't respond I overcome the difficulty some other way. I wrote him when I sent the check sometimes for the rent, but I knew it wouldn't amount to anything They do not care whether you move out or not.
At the time they demanded a $10 increase there was a depression throughout the country (1921).
('oncerning bituminous production in 1921, the l'nited States Geological Survey said as follows:
“ The year 1921 was one of prostration for the coal and coke industries. The figures of tonnage sound like those of an earlier day. To match up the 407,000,000 tons soft coal produced one must go back 17 years. But the tonnage comparisons are not enough for they ignore the normal increase from year to year. To match the completeness of the depression of 1921 one must go back to 1893."
All the wages were cut all over the country to meet the conditions of depression, and still they were after increases in Washington. The Rent Commission was all that saved us from disaster. It is fair to say these people did a great public service, an honorable service, and it is further fair to say if it had not been for them those people who had homes would have been evicted unmercifully or else had to pay rents unwarranted by business conditions.
The American Railway Association report total revenue freight loaded : The loading of the week January 7, 1922, fell off 91,619 cars compared with December 10, four weeks earlier, the loading fell off 136,934 loaded cars.
This depression caused all those who did not work for the Government considerable discomfiture. I received a cut in my salary of $300 starting January 1, 1922. At the same time I received a notice to pay increased rent.
I took the case to the Rent Commission.
We have no other tribunal which can settle questions of this kind-the law knocked the rent board out by some decision or other, and the people live in dread and terror, because we have not the psychological protection. We know what we have been through, but we do not know what is coming. We can only judge by the past what it might be.
August 23, 1923, to February 25, 1924: Looked around for a place to go; could not find one suitable for me nor at the price I could pay: $100 to $150 was nothing for a house. I would have moved before if I could have found a place because I am peaceable but I think the landlords are unreasonable. I must have a cheap place answering my circumstances. I am the one to judge that and what section of the city I want to live in. Also I knew the surrounding prices, and the rent I was paying was sufficient and they received service. I did not.
About February 27, 1924, I appeared at the hearings at the House of Representatives, and there were a number of landlords and realtors there who gare me the laugh before I began to talk. Their action was a concerted one against the tenants. I do not think their views represent the democratic views of many property holders in the city; they represent small group seeking great benefit. We wanted fair rents and stability; they talked increases and high prices and the extravagance of the people. One can not be extravagant on $1,500 a year; we can resort to arithmetic for that answer.
So for that reason I am in favor of the Rent ('ommission being continued if action is to be taken against the tenants in a concerted way at the hearings.
are justified in asking protection from the Government. Last year I found a good deal of suffering, I found no extravagance, I consider they are paying enough and more than enough in some cases, and there should be guaranties that the rent will be kept steady. I believe in the legislation. I see its benefits. There are no detriments, it stabilizes the inrestment.
Hearing February 27:
“ Mr. HAMMER. When you sent out those notices did you know that some of those tenants (some apartment house on Massachusetts Avenue) were subletting their apartments-rooms?
" Mr. WARDMAN. Certainly, I knew--that was one of the reasons."
He has no right to question a person who rents a room—it is impossible to pay high rent and live without renting a room if you can. High rents cause it, and raising the rent would not help the situation any whatsoever.
I reiterate again what I said at the previous hearing: “Now, what protection have the people of the District of Columbia if the rent act is not extended?"
I would say that a good many of us would be thrown out on the streets if there was concerted action. The opposition is a concerted action.
In this connection: I refer to statement of Miss Burlack, page 390, volume 3. as follows:
Miss BURLACK. You are saying that because he rents five rooms you take issue with him on it
Mr. WARDMAN. All I can say was he has no grievance.
Miss BURLACK. He has a grievance if the landlord is charging $65 for that house and has it not in livable condition.
“Mr. McKEEVER. Ten rooms.
* Miss BURLACK. I have an 11-room house, furnished my own stuff, that I rent at $75 a month, and that is where we do need the Rent Commission."
We have no other tribunal where a tenant can get justice against an unreasonable and profiteering landlord—there is two sides to everything.
The Rent Commission was the great stabilizer-it took no one's propertyin fact, they all got rich selling houses as people are beginning to realize that it is really cheaper to buy your own home. I would have this one-half paid for if the landlord had given me a chance to buy it, but instead of that he sent others here to harrass me and make trouble and stir us up and at the same time would not answer questions as to what he really desired—the landlord did not loose anything and I think the Rent Commission did a great public service. I think they are still necessary. I do not believe in drastic measures. I am a landlord myself, although a poor one ; I believe in them getting all they can reasonably, but there are many things to consider beside their own interest. The city is congested; there are many disputes; there is nowhere I can go to get justice that I know of. I have hunted for a house to move to—I find none suiting my condition, of which I am the judge.
I am willing to pay the rent the place is worth. I want all my money will buy. I work for my money, I do not beg for it. I think it would be a good idea if people would see that they got their money's worth. In this case we can not do it unless there is an intermediatory or a tribunal because the landlord has power to evict you when you are paying him reasonable rent. I never considered the place was worth what I was paying for it, but I am fair enough to refer it to the proper tribunal if there was one there to go to.
FREDERICK A. RHODES. Personally affirming to the correctness hereof, so far as anyone of ordinary ability is able to know or ascertain, Mr. Rhodes has above set his name, this 20th day of January, 1925, before me, a notary public in and for the District of Columbia, Washington, D. C., being known to me to be the person referred to herein. [SEAL.]
W. F. Roe, Notary Public in and for the District of Columbia.
AGREEMENT BETWEEN LANDLORD AND TENANT
This agreement, made this eighth day of October, 1920, between Capital Construction Co., a corporation under the laws of the State of Virginia, of the first part, and Frederick A. Rhodes, of the second part, all of the city of Washington, District of Columbia, whereby the party of the first part has let, and does hereby let, to the said party of the second part, the premises known as No. 1228 Thirteenth Street, NW., in said city (the same being a brick dwelling), by the year commencing on the first day of November, A. D. 1920, at and for the monthly rent of sixty-five dollars, payable in advance, that is to say, on the first day of each month as rent in advance for the ensuing month.
And the said party of the second part has agreed to take, and does hereby take and hold the said premises as tenant by the year, at the said rent, payable as aforesaid ; that he will pay the water rent in excess of the minimum charge of $5.65 a year, and gas bills as they become due, and that he will not sublet or assign the said premises, or any part thereof, or carry on any business therein except that of dwelling without the written consent of the said lessor, or use the same for any disorderly or unlawful purpose.