More than 470 tenants, current and former, will be refunded at least $450,000 by the owner of Park 7 Apartments in Northeast D.C. because they were improperly billed for water, Attorney General Karl Racine announced.
The order comes as a result of the settlement that resolved a years-long investigation launched by Racine’s office. The investigation was related to the claims that Park 7 Residential, L.P., charged its tenants for water, even though the cost of water was supposed to be included in rent, according to their rental agreement.
“When a landlord or property manager promises to include the costs of utilities, including water, in the base rent, they must honor their promise to tenants,” said Racine in a statement released on November 21.
“The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is pleased to announce that Park 7 will reimburse tenants for water bills that the landlord promised to pay. We thank the Park 7 tenants for bringing their concerns to OAG, and we stand ready to investigate and prosecute landlords and property managers who fail to honor their most basic promises to tenants.”
The development company’s owner is Chris Donatelli, who is also a political donor. The Maryland-based company is accused of violating the District’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act by “improperly billing tenants for water, misrepresenting the true cost of housing to potential tenants and misleading tenants about the terms of lease renewals.”
As part of the settlement agreement, Park 7 is required to “pay an estimated $450,000 in restitution to harmed tenants, wipe out any debts and remove negative credit entries related to water billing, pay the District over $200,000 for costs associated with its investigation and report details of water billing to OAG for the next two years.”