By Stan Bush
DENVER (CBS4) – In February, Neil O’Toole received a letter from the City of Denver saying the home he purchased at market value was supposed to be part of an affordable housing program and that he may have violated the program in buying it.
“It felt like my home was being stolen from me,” said O’Toole.
He bought the home in Green Valley Ranch for $270,000 in 2016 from the previous owner who was living in California and was making money off the home as a rental.
O’Toole paid roughly $8,000 more than the home should have been sold at.
“It seemed like a regular transaction, and I was going through the process,” O’Toole said. “There was never any mention about affordability.”
The city says more than 300 homes in a 1,200 home affordable home program have been sold at market value or two home buyers who would not have qualified for the reduced rate homes. The city made limited efforts at best to enforce the program that was largely self-regulated.
“They’re lucky all 1,200 homes didn’t violate it,” said attorney Rob McGough, who is now representing effected home owners. “I’m confident should the city try to force people like my clients out that we’ll be able to fight that in court.”
Some of O’Toole’s neighbors are renters who are already moving out because the owners received letters from the city ordering them to reapply for the program or to sell the home back at a loss.
O’Toole says he’s worried about what happens next.
“You have to live somewhere. Everyone has to live somewhere. Now I’m going to have to go back to paying someone else’s mortgage,” he said.