RentersTrytoTurnApartments

A little-known proposition spearheaded by some Green Heights residents could, it passed, substantially alter the city’s real estate landscape.

Supporters say the measure, which appears as Proposition L on the March 26 election ballot, would give moderate-income Denton citizens a chance to do what has become in the last decade a privilege of the well-to-do: own a home.

Detractors say it is a thinly-disguised piece of self-interest legislation, which would allow apartment complex owners to reap large profits from condo buildings.

The proposition is a condominium conversion bill sponsored by a group of tenants at Dominic Square, a 163-unit complex on Green Heights Boulevard.

Last spring, a handful of the tenants reached the complex owner, Joshua Singleton, to propose that they are allowed 20 purchase their apartments.

“He loved the idea,” said Peter Marsh, one of the tenants. “But we found out that under the current condominium conversion law we wouldn’t be able to do it”.

(Under present statutes, only certain types of buildings can be converted to condos, and the number of conversions is limited to 200 units a year).

So the tenants formed an organization called Ownership For Every Renter, drafted an amendment to the current condo law and convinced supervisors Thomas Rice, David Strong, Frank Gregory and Charles Dorsey, to place it on the March ballot.

Prop. L states that if an apartment complex owner and a majority of its residents support conversion, the process could then be initiated. There would be no limit on the number of units or type of buildings converted.

“Sixty-one percent of the tenants have to approve of the conversion,” said Marsh. “That doesn’t mean that all those approving of conversion have to buy a place. The renters who want to stay renters will receive a lifetime lease. They cannot be evicted.”

Those tenants wishing to buy could do so at 80 percent of the market value.