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Tenants Become Owners for $1

July 11, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Mirna Salvador has been paying $625 a month for a decrepit, rat-infested apartment in the nation’s capital.

Problems are everywhere: Leaky faucets, holes in the floors and ceilings, and the constant fear that she and her 6-year-old daughter will be forced onto the street unless repairs are made.

But she says she now feels secure in her home, bought for $1.

Salvador and her neighbors now own the four-story brick building mortgage-free. Kenneth Welch and his son, Patrick Welch, agreed to sell it to them for $1 in hopes of avoiding up to 48 years in prison and $60,000 in fines.

``We’re very happy,″ Salvador said.

The Welches also gave the tenants’ association $275,000 to put toward needed repairs and agreed to get out of the landlord business in the district.

In exchange, the District of Columbia dropped 200 housing code violations filed against them, said Sharon Styles-Anderson, a lawyer for the district.

A lawyer for the Welches, G. Allen Dale, declined to comment until after a court hearing on Wednesday to decide the Welches’ fate.

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