Capital City Fund For Investigative Journalism


Coverage of SpotlightDC and our stories:

“Brazen Lies” of Eviction Process Servers Spotlighted, by Henry Morris, October 13, 2020 – Making Justice Real, the Official Blog of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia

A new, extensive investigation by DCist and SpotlightDC now has exposed just how widespread this problem is, a fundamental injustice at the core of D.C.’s eviction process.

How D.C.’s eviction system kicks tenants when they are down, Opinion by Colbert I. King, October 9, 2020 – The Washington Post

The report, by Josh Kaplan, was based on a nine-month investigation of the District’s eviction system, which, on paper, provides renters with rights that are administered inside the D.C. Superior Court. In practice, though, it is a system that kicks D.C. tenants when they are down.

Evicted in absentia, October 6, 2020 – 730DC

“Despite DC’s ban on evictions during the pandemic, unscrupulous landlords are still taking advantage of a fraudulent notification process to oust renters. A new investigation into thousands of court records show the city’s primary process servers, tasked with giving tenants formal notice of their eviction hearings, only managed to do so 0.4 percent of the time.
Efforts to reform the extremely flawed eviction process are slow going, but tenants are still banding together to fight for stronger protections.”

D.C. Council Strengthens Requirements For Notice Of Eviction Cases, by Jenny Gathright, October 6, 2020 – DCist

The D.C. Council unanimously approved a measure that requires landlords to provide photographic evidence that tenants have been given notice of eviction cases against them. The measure was a new amendment added to emergency renter protection legislation the body was already scheduled to consider.

The amendment came in response to a lengthy investigation from DCist that uncovered hundreds of instances in which process servers — the people landlords hire to deliver summonses to tenants in eviction proceedings — filed affidavits that were likely false. In many cases, this could have meant that tenants were completely unaware that their landlords had initiated eviction proceedings. If tenants don’t show up to their initial hearing, they lose by default.

Local Congress members seek stricter White House safety protocols as D.C. records most new virus cases since June, by Fenit Nirappil and Dana Hedgpeth, October 6, 2020 – The Washington Post

“Council members Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) and Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) also successfully introduced an amendment to the eviction legislation to require that landlords provide photographic evidence that they served tenants with eviction notices. The language was a response to an investigation published by DCist and Spotlight D.C., which found hundreds of discrepancies in eviction cases that suggested tenants often weren’t notified of cases against them.”

D.C. Council Strengthens Requirements For Notice Of Eviction Cases, by George Kevin Jordan, October 6, 2020 – Greater Greater Washington

Many facing eviction in DC don’t know about their court date
In hundreds of DC eviction cases in a two-month span, process servers did not serve tenants their eviction notice in person, leading many to miss court dates, an investigation by DCist and Spotlight DC found.

Trashy news, July 24, 2020 – 730DC

SpotlightDC, the Washington region’s first and only nonprofit dedicated to funding local investigative news, launched yesterday with Cuneyt Dil’s investigation of malfeasance in our trash collection that’s cost DC taxpayers nearly $54 million in the past decade. “For years, top District leaders have known and downplayed the fact that the District does not recoup its costs from its business with private haulers.”