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University touts landlord accountability pledge

After a recent spate of complaints about student vandalism in the neighborhood involving exchanges with D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier and Councilmember Jack Evans, Georgetown University is taking out advertisements to publicize its "Landlord Accountability" program asking Georgetown-area landlords to sign a responsibility pledge. "We believe that landlords renting properties to students have an equal role to play in maintaining the quality of life in our historic neighborhoods and we are grateful to those who have signed the pledge," Assistant Vice President for Communications Stacy Kerr wrote in an email to media outlets. Earlier this month, a number of non-student residents complained on the neighborhood listserv about ongoing trouble with student vandalism to their houses and gardents. "We are negatively impacted on a regular basis by disorderly and drunken conduct by Georgetown University students to the point where my kids are exhausted when going to school because the students have garden parties behind our house at all hours of the night (week days included), they leave their gardens trashed which we have a lovely view of from the children's bedroom, and recently we were vandalized yet again. They smashed two very expensive planters on Thursday night and we took two from the back yard and replaced the ones that were broken in front only for those to ALSO be smashed the next night," wrote Sandrella Lanjouw of 36th Street. "The noise violations, vandalism and drunken behavior committed by Georgetown University students, especially those in Magis Row across from the residents on 36th Street, continue to plague my neighbors and me," wrote Michelle Galler. "The police are not protecting us!! We are helplessly being surrounded by callous, entitled students who are NOT BEING SUFFICIENTLY PENALIZED for their bad behavior." She reported incidents involving students and vandalism to plants as well as "urinating on the front lawn, and screaming and throwing loud street parties well into the night." In response, Lanier detailed Commander Michael Reese to look into the matter. "I am very aware of the situation that you raise and last week I received a strong commitment from the leadership of Georgetown that they were going to address the issues that you have presented," Lanier wrote. "We will stay on top of this." Kerr said yesterday the University has been making progress. "We've received a great response over the past month. There are 26 landlords who have signed the pledge, representing 53 properties," she wrote. Landlords who have signed the pledge include: Jean-Claude L. Balcet, Brian Becker, Terrence J. Boyle for Delta Phi Epsilon, Valerie Brown, John H. Carlson, Keegan Carroll LLC, Vera V. Chawla, Ann-Lee Chen, Lee H. Garbrick, Gary L. Groat, Michael J. Haar, David & Margaret Hensler, Richard Huber, Robert Leembruggen, Dori G. Konopka, William P. Mahr, William F. Marquardt, III, Judith E. McCaffrey, John McGovern, John Midlen, Z.D. Nikodem, Debbie Meritz Olsen, Scott Sachs, Gillian St. Lawrence, David S. Solovey, Melody Soopper. But Kerr said not everyone is happy with the new pledge and publicity effort. "We've heard from some landlords who were upset by our letter and told us they won't get a Business license, as required by D.C. law. So we feel like we have started a dialogue that is helpful to everyone – to our students and renters, to the landlords and to our neighbors," Kerr wrote. D.C. regulations include a requirement that landlords acquire a Basic Business License to rent out residential units, involving safety and building inspections. More information is available at