Research #2: Tactics of Gentrification; Evicting Low-Income Residents

An article by the Washington Post explores the effects of redevelopment on subsidized/low-income housing in a Washington, D.C. neighborhood. The article explores individual cases of eviction and lawsuits which tenants were involved in and how those situations have played out in the midst of gentrification. The Washington Post (WP) serves as a reputable source not only because they are a long-standing newspaper but because of their proximity to the issue. Based in Washington, D.C, the WP has utilized their location to interview tenants affected by gentrification and talk to researchers in the area who are well versed in the issue.  

The article essentially profiles the coming redevelopment and tenants of Brookland Manor, an apartment complex that houses over 1,000 majority low-income tenants in cheap units for larger families. The current complex will be replaced by parks, retail space and smaller, expensive apartments catered to wealthier families. One of the main subjects Brittany Gray in the article tells the Post “(her) apartment complex is being renovated…. and the landlord is taking legal action to evict me and other tenants so they do not have to relocate us.”

The article sites that the redevelopment of the complex started in fall of 2014, around the time Gray experienced increased lawsuits over underpaid rent. These specific finding in the article allude to some of the tactics used by landlords to push out residents of low-income housing  in order to cut costs of redevelopment. The WP’s article uses an infographic with data from the District of Columbia Courts and Zoning Commission to display the increased violations against the Manor’s low-income residents. Lawsuits filed for unpaid rent and lease violations increased after the redevelopment started which backs Gray’s claim on a basic level.

Eviction lawsuits against poor tenants ramped up
Eviction lawsuits against poor tenants ramped up

The research that backs the individual experiences of the tenants isn’t 100% parallel but it speaks to the larger process of gentrification and the loss of low income housing. Although not directly stated in the article instances like these lead to homelessness due to the fact that the tents cut costs but not relocating families during development but evicting them for petty offenses.

The article also mentions the sentiment of D.C housing attorneys who say “eviction lawsuits over small lease violations (are) one in an arsenal of quiet but aggressive pressure tactics landlords use to clear buildings before redevelopment.” Additionally, the article sites a tenant organizer, Philip Kennedy, with the Latino Economic Development Center who states from experience that it is  “cheaper to file a bogus lawsuit against someone than to get them into a new home.” These opinions are expressed from a professional standpoint and point out the correlation between gentrification and eviction of low-income residents.


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