District Court Affirms Opa-Locka Community Development Corporation’s Right of First Refusal under LIHTC

The Third District Court of Appeals in Florida issued on September 15 an opinion affirming the Opa-Locka Community Development Corporation’s (OLCDC’s) right of first refusal for the purchase of a Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) property in the case Aswan Village Associates, LLC. vs. Opa-Locka Community Development Corporation, Inc.

Aswan Village is an affordable housing complex where resident incomes are between 30% and 60% of the county’s median income. The property was going to be sold to an equity firm in New York, which sparked concerns that the 216-unit complex will no longer be affordable. OLCDC sued HallKeen Management, a property management company, over the ownership stakes of the complex after the company did not comply with the non-profit organization’s right of first refusal under Section 42 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), the section that establishes the LIHTC program.

NLIHC joined an amicus brief in May 2021 in support of OLCDC’s right of first refusal (see Memo, 5/24). The summary judgment decision, which was unanimously affirmed after contentious litigation that included a motion for sanctions claiming that OLCDC's case was frivolous and should be dismissed, allowed OLCDC to enforce its Section 42(i)(7) right of first refusal under the LIHTC program to acquire and preserve a much-needed affordable housing apartment complex in Miami-Dade County.