(This is the first in a three part series about Charlottesville's efforts to attract middle-income residents.) Charlottesville officials are worried that too many single-family homes are being converted into rental units for students, driving away middle-income residents who are a valuable asset to the city. The past 10 years have shown a slight decline in owner-occupied homes in Charlottesville -- this despite an overall increase in the total housing units. In an effort to keep its permanent residents, City Council has been trying to improve residential parking near the University and give residents other incentives to stay in the city. The problem begins as single family homes in areas near Grounds get bought up quickly by landlords, who convert them into rental property for students, Charlottesville Vice Mayor Meredith Richards said. "We have lost a lot of home ownership," Richards said. Landlords who rent apartments to students can pay more than market value for available homes -- more than middle-income residents can pay.