D.C. Plans Crackdown on Abusive Landlords and Condo Conversions

City councilors in Washington D.C. have proposed a plan to throw out exemptions that allowed hundreds of landlords to evict residents with little or no notice so they could convert buildings to high priced condos.

"Vowing to crack down on abusive landlords, the council members said they will propose ending the blanket use of "vacancy exemptions," which allow landlords who empty their buildings to convert to condominiums without tenant approval or paying thousands of dollars in fees."

"The council members are considering whether developers who turn long-vacant, blighted properties into affordable housing could continue to claim exemptions."

"'The exemption is just too great an incentive for landlords to force tenants out of their homes by coercion or just by letting the building become uninhabitable,' Cheh said. 'The temptation appears too great. I don't want the law to provide that incentive anymore.'"

"The District has one of the strongest tenant-rights laws in the nation. It allows renters to vote on whether apartments convert to condominiums and requires landlords to pay a fee on the sale of new condominium units to help displaced families find homes. Vacant buildings are exempt."

"In the past four years, landlords emptied more than 200 buildings across the city. Using vacancy exemptions, they have drawn $328 million in condominium sales so far while saving $16 million in conversion fees, The Washington Post reported in a series of articles published this week."

Full Story: Landlords' Exemption Might Be Repealed

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