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The fates of hundreds of Chinese immigrants attempting to navigate D.C.’s complex housing laws in the English language they mostly don’t speak hinge on a Latin phrase. According to the D.C. Code, before a developer can tear down a residential building, it must give the tenants a chance to buy the building through a “bona fide offer of sale.” So is $250 million, or $828,000 per run-down apartment, a “bona fide” offer to the 302 Section 8 households at the Museum Square Apartments on K Street NW? The question has major implications. First, there’s the building’s composition: With mostly Chinese residents, it holds about half the remaining Chinese population in what was once a thriving Chinatown. And then there’s the future of D.C. housing: If “bona fide” is interpreted loosely and developers can use an exorbitantly high sale price to justify razing buildings and evicting low-income tenants, much of the city’s affordable housing stock is at risk. Fortunately for the Museum Square tenants, the mayor and the D.C. Council don’t interpret Latin the way the building’s owner’s lawyers do—they introduced legislation to cap these sale offers at prices that more reasonably fit their definition of “bona fide.”