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Book Launch: The Politics of Staying Put: Condo Conversion and Tenant Right-to-Buy in Washington, DC

Staying Put in a Gentrifying City: The Tenants Opportunity to Purchase Act

Date: Thursday, September 29, 2016

Time: 9:30-11:00 AM

Location: Abramson Family Founders room, SIS

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Hashtag: #SISEvents

Please join our esteemed panel for a discussion on The Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) as examined through Carolyn Gallaher's new book, The Politics of Staying Put: Condo Conversion and Tenant Right-to-Buy in Washington, DC. This law, unique to the District of Columbia, allows tenants in apartment buildings contracted for sale the right to refuse the sale and purchase the building instead. In the hands of tenants, a process that would usually hurt them—conversion to a condominium or cooperative—can instead help them.

Panelists:
Carolyn Gallaher, Associate Professor, American University School of International Service; Author, The Politics of Staying Put: Condo Conversion and Tenant Right-to-Buy in Washington, DC

Blake Biles, Retired Partner, Arnold & Porter; Board Member, Neighborhood Legal Services Program

Jim Graham, Former DC Councilmember, Ward 1

George Derek Musgrove, Associate Professor, University of Maryland Baltimore Campus

Moderated by:
Derek Hyra, Associate Professor, Department of Public Administration and Policy, American University; Director, Metropolitan Policy Center, American University


About the Book:

When cities gentrify, it can be hard for working-class and low-income residents to stay put. Rising rents and property taxes make buildings unaffordable, or landlords may sell buildings to investors interested in redeveloping them into luxury condos.

In her engaging study The Politics of Staying Put, Carolyn Gallaher focuses on a formal, city-sponsored initiative—The Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA)—that helps people keep their homes. This law, unique to the District of Columbia, allows tenants in apartment buildings contracted for sale the right to refuse the sale and purchase the building instead. In the hands of tenants, a process that would usually hurt them—conversion to a condominium or cooperative—can instead help them.

Taking a broad, city-wide assessment of TOPA, Gallaher follows seven buildings through the program's process. She measures the law's level of success and its constraints. Her findingshave relevance for debates in urban affairs about condo conversion, urban local autonomy, and displacement.  

If you would like to request a disability-related accommodation or accessibility information, please contact SIS Events by emailing sisevents@american.edu or by calling (202) 885-1747. Requests should ideally be made at least two weeks in advance.