Legislation seeking a congressional veto of a D.C. City Council bill severly restricting conversions of apartments in the District of Columbia into condominius was introduced this week by Rep. Charles Wilson (D-Tex.).
Wilson himself admitted he thought the veto measure had little chance of passage, but he wanted to "draw attention to the fact that the District is deliberately and consciously destroying its residential tax base under the guise of helping the poor."
Wilson said the city's rent control law is destroying the ability of landlords to provide housing at reasonable costs to city residents.
What the D.C. City Council did in passing the condo conversion measure, Wilson said, "is subsidizing the upper-middle-class residents of Connecticut and Massachusetts Avenues."
The council's bill would require that a majority of current rental tentants approve before an apartment could be converted to condominiums. It also would require lifetime rental tenancy for elderly residents.
Wilson blamed rent control for the shortage of new housing units in the District that led in part to the condo conversion measure.
Under the Home Rule Charter, Congress has the power to review and veto acts passed by the City Council. It has done so only once, when it voted last December to override a council bill that would have severely restricted the right of foreign governments to locate their diplomatic offices in residential neighborhoods of Washington.