11 Aug “Cash for keys” in DC again, but with some crazy context
Hey guys, I posted about this situation a couple months ago I believe but things have taken a pretty crazy turn. I have a habit of getting carried away with writing out every little detail, so I'll condense everything to a couple paragraphs the best I can.
Tl;dr: I'm renting a foreclosed property – the bank who purchased it, due to a technical error (I presume), stands to make a 100% or more profit, possibly in the 7 figure range. Using this knowledge and knowledge of my TOPA rights, could I ask for a much higher cash for keys sum than what they were initially offering? I'm a bona fide tenant and it's extremely unlikely under DC law that they will be able to evict me at all.
DC landlord-tenant law is extremely skewed in favor of the tenant, in case you aren't familiar with our local laws. I am on a month to month lease in a recently foreclosed and auctioned property – foreclosure is not a valid reason for eviction here, and the landlord can't terminate a month to month lease without a violation of said lease, unlike in many other states where they can end it at any time with fair notice. The ex-owner of the property is being sued for possession, but she doesn't actually live here and I've been told by people in the field that the judge will throw the case out immediately since we (as tenants) are protected by law. I will be meeting with the lawyers for the new owner (a large multinational bank) during the week to prove to them that I am a bona-fide tenant here, and instead allow for negotiation on a cash for keys deal.
Here's what makes this different. The property is actually two units with two street addresses. When the property was auctioned off, they paid a discounted rate for just ONE property (valued over $700k) and the purchase included the downstairs lot as well (valued in the low 600s) for whatever reason. Their listed purpose for the purchase was improvement, clearly with the intent to resell and turn a quick but massive profit – if they sold both properties individually at market price right now, they would be profiting nearly 650k. After renovations, I think they could get at least a 30% markup on each which is in line with other properties in the area, bringing their profit to nearly a million dollars on a 3 month renovation and flip.
Using my tenant bill of rights and TOPA, I could end up staying here for a very long time (as I intended to before I knew that this place was being foreclosed on), and eventually be able to sell off my TOPA rights to the highest bidder when I do decide to move out. The bank's profit is pretty dependent on how quick they can fix up and flip the property which is of course dependent on how fast they can get us tenants out. I don't want to go through lengthy court proceedings and hold up a property that the owner doesn't want me in, and I'd be willing to bet they feel the same.
Does the amount of profit they're going to make with this place give me any extra swing in how much I can ask for as payment to leave? Their margins are the highest I've ever seen in such a simple flip, and I come from a family of real estate developers.
Does me having knowledge and intending to exercise my TOPA rights also increase the amount I can ask for? The article I linked mentioned payouts in the 50-100k range for just single family homes.
Essentially I don't want to sound crazy or unreasonable when negotiating with them, but I also don't want to be put out of a place I've been quite comfortable in for the last 2 years so that some faceless corporation can make a 7 figure profit while paying a paltry sum (they offered $2500 to my roommate) to expedite the process. If they want me out, then I want a fair share. Is that acceptable in the cash for keys world?