A condominium developers association filed suit in D.C. Superior Court yesterday to have the District of Columbia's emergency moratorium on condominium and cooperative conversions declared invalid.
The suit, filed by the Washington Home Ownership Council, which was formed this year, contends that the frequent extentions of "emergency" housing legislation by the D.C. City Council are illegal.
By adopting and extending such emergencies for more than 90 days, the suit argues, the City Council is, in effect, adopting permanent legislation without sending it to Congress for approval.
The City Council passed emergency legislation banning the conversion of most apartment buildings to condominiums and cooperatives for 90 days. The moratorium was passed in response to tenant protests and to statistics showing that more and more of the city's rental housing stock was being lost to conversions.
A special commission was set up to make recommendations for permanent condominium legislation.
On July 31, the City Council passed a new emergency law extending the moratorium through the end of October.
In a statement released yesterday, the Home Ownership Council -- made up of specialists in the condominium development field -- said it feels the District has abused "the very essence of the legislative process" by enacting and extending such emergency laws without the benefit of public hearings or testimony.