City of Denver Won't Allow Single Mom to Sell Her Home for What It's Worth

Many people view their homes as an investment. They buy it and then hope it'll appreciate in value so they can sell it later for a nice little profit. Even if that's not their hope, everyone wants to get the most out of their home that they can when it's time to sell. The great thing about this country is that you can do just that.

Unless, that is, you live in the wrong neighborhood in Denver:

Home sweet home is now bittersweet home for Cynthia Lopez.

The 35-year old single mom bought her Green Valley Ranch home in 2012 for $150,000.

"While this is a great home and I appreciate it, I had something better for my daughter and the city shut those dreams down," Lopez said.

Just a few months ago, Lopez had a contract in place to sell her 1,200-square-foot home for $265,000 so she and her daughter could move to a bigger house nearby.

"I wanted to give the best for my daughter and she still asks me, 'When are we moving to the bigger house?' It's hard to make a 2-year-old understand that we have to stay here."

Just days before the home closing, Lopez was told her home was part of an affordable housing program that Denver created in 2003.

Lopez says she signed no contracts stating her home was part of an affordable housing program, and nothing was said during the purchase process. Her claims appear to be backed up by Michael Brenna, the real estate agent who helped her purchase the home.

Due to the rules in place regarding this program, Lopez is only allowed to sell her home for $186,000. That's well below what the house is worth, and well below what Lopez has been paying property taxes on.

That's right. Lopez claims she's been paying property taxes on what the house is worth on the open market, but isn't being allowed to sell it for that.

It seems that Lopez is just one of several people in this situation, and she should be exempt from the requirement. As it is, she says she's being punished for someone else's screwup. Yet the city claims innocence:

Solivan was asked if the city was in effect punishing Lopez for something that isn't her fault.

"There is no punishment here because the review process is underway," he said.

When Solivan was repeatedly asked if the city would grant Lopez an exemption if the review process found she was not at fault and had no way to know she was buying a home deemed affordable housing, he refused to say.

However, that's not where the stupid ends. Not by a longshot.

You see, while this supposed review is underway, a city inspector has told Lopez she has to sell her home in the next 30 days and can only sell it for the approved rate of $186,000. The argument being made is that since she didn't actually qualify for the affordable housing program when she bought the home, she has to leave.

Lopez is finding it difficult to buy the city's claim that there's no punishment here, and I can't say that I blame her. That's precisely what it looks like. Actually, it sounds like the city is punishing her for their own screw-up.

There are almost no ramifications for government employees who make mistakes like this, but someone has to deal with the fallout. That means the average citizen is the one who gets screwed over.

It sounds like Lopez has gotten the short end of the stick, and no one in the city of Denver really cares.