The Vista Apartments, known by some as The Wingate, sits in Ward 8 in southwest D.C. (Roy Lewis/The Washington Informer)
The Vista Apartments, known by some as The Wingate, sits in Ward 8 in southwest D.C. (Roy Lewis/The Washington Informer)

A number of tenants who live at The Vista Apartments in Ward 8 in southwest D.C. are experiencing what they say is a lack of care and maintenance at their facility that includes elevators consistently breaking down without timely repair and rodents roaming freely, while management offers no timeline when extermination services will be provided.

The Vista, known colloquially as the Wingate, had only one working elevator for 350 units in the 10-floor facility recently, according to Alisa Head, the president of the Vista Gardens Tenant Association. The Vista has three elevators for tenants. Head said one elevator has been out of order for three weeks. She said another elevator didn’t work for five working days and the lone working unit creaks when being used.

“We have seniors and people who are disabled who cannot move around like they need to,” Head said. “It has gotten so bad that some residents have called the fire department to have firefighters take them upstairs, sometimes 10 flights, to their apartments. Because the elevators aren’t working, people are literally stuck in their apartments.”

Head said even the freight elevator that tenants are not supposed to use, couldn’t be utilized because security personnel on the grounds didn’t have the key to open it.

Head said the dysfunctional elevators are the latest problems at The Vista, owned by CIH Properties, Inc. in Silver Spring. She said the building has “gone down” since the CIH took over the management of the building six years ago.

“CIH refuses to correct the ongoing problems here,” she said.

Head said water leaks in many apartments. Tenants have complained to her about pets in the building and how they seem to go about without their owners.

“You can own a pet in our building but things have gotten out of hand,” Head said. “We have multiple pit bulls in the building and they seem to roam around without their owners sometimes. The dogs in the building urinate and defecate in the hallways. Our building stinks when they do that.”

Head said criminal activity has increased noticeably but the security company hired to protect tenants and the property aren’t performing their duties.

“Crime has elevated,” she said. “It seems that the management company hires these “fly by night” security firms to work here. Some of the security guards are unprofessional. They flirt with tenants.”

Head said when a tenant reports a crime, the security guards say they will contact officers of the Seventh District of the Metropolitan Police Department to come by and investigate.

“But they hardly do anything about stopping crime here,” she said.

Gabriella Bond serves as the secretary of the tenants’ association. Bond said the rampant presence of rodents infuriates her.

“There are insects and rodents all over the place,” Bond said. “In addition to rats and mice, you have huge cockroaches and water bugs. You have cockroaches on the wall and cockroaches on the ceiling. There is an abundance of mice on the 10th floor.”

Bonds said the building has some pipes that have been there for decades. She agreed with Head that water floods throughout the building without any maintenance from the management company to fix the problem.

Head said her organization has reached out to their advisory neighborhood commissioner, Monique Diop, who lives in the building. Diop told the Informer she couldn’t comment at press time. Head said the office of D.C. Council member Trayon White (D-Ward 8) and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s staffers have been contacted regarding the problems at The Vista. Additionally, she said her association has reached out to Council member Anita Bonds (D-At Large), who serves as the chair of the Committee on Housing and Executive Administration “multiple times” with no response. Head said she has received assistance from tenant advocacy associations in the city.

The Informer reached out to CIH Properties for comment through emailed questions but the company made no response by press time.

James Wright Jr. is the D.C. political reporter for the Washington Informer Newspaper. He has worked for the Washington AFRO-American Newspaper as a reporter, city editor and freelance writer and The Washington...

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  1. Good afternoon my name is Cornelia Hill I am a tenant at Woodberry Apartments and we too are having the same issues as Marbury Plaza, Wingate and countless others. We also have reached out to Mayor Bowers, Trayon White , Robert White we have taken complaints to Congress , DCRA and countless of other. And no help. We would very much appreciate your help

  2. Wingate/Vista is the worst place to live right now. Been there since 2017 and it has went to down tremendously. Tenants let their dogs urine and poop in the hallways and will not pick it up. I know a person in the building who slipped and fell in dog urine. Packages being taken from your door, trash chutes not being able to open because it is broken. Big bugs on the ground floor where the trash is housed, the bugs has taken over the laundry room, half the machines in the laundry room not working. The employees in the rental office is jus there to collect a paycheck. you have to schedule to come into the office and THEY DO NOT GET BACK WITH YOU TO SCHEDULE.

  3. I have lived in Wingate since 2016 through 3 different changes of office management. In addition to now the 3rd security company. The office management doesn’t interact enough outside their office with tenants. There’s too many bandaid repairs being made and not enough permanent resolutions. CIH Properties has no real interest in making the necessary changes to the property. Once bragged about the money invested into Wingate and as of our tenant meeting on Tuesday night the same thing. Tenants paying rent or paying on time should have nothing to do with why our building suffers. The rental office was completely renovated a few years ago but the building stands as is. Potential tenants come to a nice clean office to ride up on the elevator if they’re working. They visit the model apartment with staged furniture to move in and deal with the crap afterwards. The many dog owners who don’t pickup their feces outside or if done inside our building. Countless urine puddles in hallways and elevators. The trash in stairwells, left in the hallway, on the floor of the trashshute room, and clogging it up too. It’s a catch 22 because the mess is caused people who live here, I try to do my part as others do who want better living conditions. However if the management company invests in real renovatios maybe the other tenants will treat the building better. As a professional I can’t entertain in my home due to the conditions in the building. Especially after my run in with multiple mice reports and many cockroaches/waterbugs who dewell here too. It’s nerve wrecking to here sounds in walls and above your head from rodents. The first encounter was a mouse entering through where it chewed flooring in my hall closet. My last report went to Department of Buildings formally DCRA which prompted some necessary hole plugging between my kitchen and bathroom. I reported the elevators not working this past October which prompted repairs and accountability. I’m glad Councilmen White and some of his staff attended our tenant meeting so hopefully they make inquiries about our concerns. I’m not surprised there’s was no response from the Mayor’s office or Ms. Bonds office especially after many voted for them. Now isn’t that ironic hence why neither received my vote.

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