Some cooperative members remain uncooperative


I am responding to David Sachs article The Rebirth of Real Cooperation, published on December 3, 2009, in reference to the Arlandria Chiralagua Housing Cooperative. I am a Section 8 tenant renting in the cooperative and have lived here for seven months. My experience living here and dealing with the former property manager and landlord, Mr. Mohammed Khan, and former board president, Kathleen Henry, because of a serious noise issue with my downstairs neighbor, has awakened in me a level of outrage over their incompetence and subterfuge. I am happy to hear there is a new board and property manager, but I am still left with an overwhelming sense of frustration and injustice, not to mention severe stress over the complete lack of professional response to my noise complaint. As of last week, I have had to deal with loud, obnoxious stereo music from my neighbor living under me at all hours of the night and day, in addition to sexual harassment by the tenant, who is a cooperative member and has a roommate who is not legally allowed to live in the apartment. I have repeatedly tried to work with this downstairs neighbor and the former landlord and board president to no avail. In essence, the downstairs tenant is devoid of common decency and respect for others. I have called the police an estimated 20 times with this complaint. I have also notified the City Council members, Housing and Urban Development, Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority and the landlord tenant office.

I am also currently in the process of making a formal noise abatement complaint with the magistrate here in Alexandria and am in the process of suing the neighbor for damages. I am still gathering video and other evidence of the noise and harassment. I am looking forward to working with the new property manager here on this issue next week and I have spoken with him over the telephone, but still feel a need to take my problem to the courts. There are about 15 Section 8 renters living here. 
As a Section 8 tenant, I have been told it is a cooperative and my rights may be limited. Nevertheless, I still have a written legal lease and the cooperative has a contract with HUD and ARHA to provide safe and decent housing. My apartment is fine, but as far as it being safe or decent, this is in question. I have not been able to quietly enjoy my residence for almost four months.

I am not an immigrant and believe there are several other tenants that are not.  I am referring to the piece in the article stating that there were mostly immigrants living here.  There are actually a diverse number of tenants here.Thank you for allowing me to respond to your article and I hope that you see another side of the experience of a tenant living in the cooperative.

Melanie C. Morgan