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Washington DC

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D.C. Had the Country’s First TOPA Law. Could Real Estate Developers Gut It?

Developers are pushing for two exemptions to the landmark tenant rights legislation—affordable housing properties and buildings that are 25 years old or newer.

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Housing

How ‘Tenant Stewards’ Are Using TOPA to Form a Co-op

Organized by a pandemic-era mutual aid group, this housing cooperative is taking advantage of D.C.’s pioneering Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act. But the pressure of paying back a loan with mounting interest could stymie the group’s plans to provide affordable housing.

Aerial shot of a huge hotel, 12 or 13 stories high, surrounded by mature trees, other apartment buildings or hotels, with a roadway in front of it. The building is shaped vaguely like a stick figure of a person, but with a C-shaped head.
Organizing

The Unfulfilled Potential of D.C.’s TOPA Law

Tenant Opportunity to Purchase laws empower renters to get control when their buildings go up for sale. But in D.C., the hurdles to becoming owners are many, and often insurmountable.

An aerial view of a large, four-story, U-shaped housing development, still being built, and surrounded by settled neighborhoods on the three sides that are visible. The roof is white and the various sections of the exterior walls are blue, tan, brick, or white. The ground around the structure is still raw dirt, with several trucks and machines in view.
Affordability

Can Residents Get More Out of Tax Credit Housing?

Arrangements in which LIHTC tenants share in the development’s financial benefits, or become partial or full owners, are rare—but some properties have pulled them off. This scan of several examples shows the possibilities—and the conditions needed for them to succeed.

A surface covered with (and hidden by) $100 bills
Housing

Landlords on Notice: Section 8 Discrimination Will Cost You

Landmark lawsuits in D.C., New York, and California make source of income discrimination risky for landlords. 

Interior view of the stained glass windows of Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem.
Housing

Black Congregations Are Developing Housing on Church Land

Many Black churches in the U.S. are developing housing on their property, and becoming stronger activists in the fight for affordable housing.

Two people in dark winter coats stand at a table alongside a city street.
Organizing

D.C. Street Vendors Push Back Against Criminalization

Street vendors are banding together to push back against police harassment, keep access to their usual locations, fight for better working conditions, and create sustainable businesses.

An illustration highlighting the 6 policies tenants are fighting for, including good cause eviction, right to habitability, right to counsel, rent regulation, tenant opportunity to purchase, and right to organize.
Organizing

Tenant Protections 101

Tenant advocates have long been pushing for a “tenants bill of rights” to codify rules that protect renters from landlords. Here’s a rundown of the top protections housing justice activists say need to be included.

Neighborhood Change

“My City’s So White, I Moved”

We sit down with Carlynn Newhouse, a spoken word artist, to discuss her latest poem on gentrification in Seattle and D.C.

Uncategorized

Can We Prevent Slumlords from Buying More Buildings?

Why should owners of buildings in illegally poor repair be able to buy more rentals? As Washington, D.C., found, it’s not the easiest thing to prevent.

Housing

A Way for Investors to Save Affordable Housing, Not Harm It

Investors have helped preserve more than 1,700 affordable housing units in the Washington, D.C., metro area.

Housing

Tenant Screening Companies Profit from Eviction Records, Driving Housing Insecurity

Sealing eviction records at the point of filing is an urgent step toward dismantling harmful tenant screening practices.

Equity

Residents Owning Their Local Economy

In the face of extractive “investments,” communities are exploring creative models that let them both exert control and earn returns themselves.