|4021 Oxford St., Annandale, was cited for multiple occupancy and multiple dwelling violations in fall 2011. The problems have been resolved.|
Residents of Annandale and the Mason District area are becoming increasingly unhappy about the lack of property maintenance—and are growing frustrated at county officials’ failure to act quickly enough.
Among the problems cited by residents of Parklawn, Lincolnia, and other neighborhoods: unfinished mcmansions and uncompleted home remodeling projects that have languished for years, illegal multiple occupancy and multiple dwelling units, derelict cars and illegal car sales on residential properties, excess litter, and what appears to be illegal car sales conducted off a truck on the Kmart parking lot.
Several residents say they have contacted Fairfax County officials but have not received a response.
It took many months for the county to investigate the illegal “extreme yard sales” on Braddock Road, for example, and it’s uncertain whether this issue has been resolved.
The Mason District currently has more multiple occupancy complaint cases than any other district, but that’s not always the case, says Jeff Blackford, Fairfax County’s director of code compliance. “Multiple dwellings are prevalent all over the county,” he says.
“Clearly, there’s been a dramatic increase since 2007,” he says, but “it’s hard to say what the trend is.” Increased media attention has shined a spotlight on the problem, so more people know what to look for and are more likely to report their neighbors, he says.
As of April 30, there were 55 open multiple occupancy cases in Mason, reports the Office of Code Compliance. Notices of violations have been sent to property owners in 21 of those cases. Twelve cases are in litigation, and 22 are in the process of being investigated. The code prohibits more than four unrelated people living in one unit.
There were 17 multiple dwelling cases in Mason, as of April 30, which refer to houses illegally divided into separate living spaces, such as houses with two kitchens. Notices of violation have been sent for nine of those cases. Four cases are in litigation, and four are being investigated.
If code compliance investigators find a property in violation, the owner is given time to correct the problem. If it is not fixed after the property is re-inspected, it is referred to the county attorney’s office.