By definition, I am now known as a housing provider (according to the laws in D.C.). I used to be known as a landlord because I rented 18 apartments to tenants. Being a housing provider or a landlord is anything but a bowl of cherries here in Washington.

My 18-unit building is a modest, three-story brick walk-up structure (clean and neat) constructed in 1948. It is located about 400 feet from the Takoma subway station, maintains a harmonious mix of tenants and seldom has a vacancy.

There is, however, one real problem: I can't get a reasonable monetary return on the value of my building, and I'm certainly not alone in this regard.

I rent two-bedroom apartments, pay all utilities including electricity, gas and some very costly water bills, (thanks to an incompetent water department) for $12 and change per day.

The D.C. government displays a lack of wisdom by continuing its rent control program. In effect, the government is saying to the housing provider, "You provide an accommodation that is safe, clean and free of any housing code violation." D.C. officials think the landlord can make a profit by doing so.

Unfortunate landlords who cannot pay their expenses must abandon their rental properties. The result is boarded-up buildings, vandalism and homelessness. The homeless families are then accommodated in motels such as the Capital Inn at great cost. And the dreadful fact is that the situation is worsening. JOE NEY Washington