Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act

Exclusive only to the District of Columbia when a seller goes to sell a tenant occupied property the seller must comply with the TOPA provisions. TOPA requires giving the tenant both an Offer of Sale and a Right of First Refusal. Very specific mailing requirements, deadlines and content are required for these documents and they are also specific to the size of the housing accommodation; single family, 2-4 units or over 5 units.

A seller typically seeks either the guidance of their experienced real estate agent or our office on fulfilling the requirements to be TOPA compliant.

The forms, to be delivered in both English and Spanish, are listed in this chart and available on the DC Housing and Community Development website.

Form TitlePDF Files
Offer of Sale With a Third Party Contract – Single Rental Unit[English][En Español]
Offer of Sale Without a Third Party Contract – Single Rental Unit[English][En Español]
Right of First Refusal – Single Rental Unit[English][En Español]
Offer of Sale With a Third Party Contract – 2-4 Rental Units[English][En Español]
Offer of Sale Without a Third Party Contract – 2-4 Rental Units[English][En Español]
Right of First Refusal – 2-4 Rental Units[English][En Español]
Offer of Sale With a Third Party Contract – 5 or More Rental Units[English][En Español]
Offer of Sale Without a Third Party Contract – 5 or More Rental Units[English][En Español]
Right of First Refusal – 5 or More Rental Units[English][En Español]
Notice of Transfer – Single Rental Unit[English][En Español]
Notice of Transfer – 2-4 Rental Units[English][En Español]
Notice of Transfer – 5 or More Rental Units[English][En Español]

The law and how it is interpreted varies. You will likely get conflicting advice when asking various experts their opinion. For example, the law says compliance is required only on a property that is tenant occupied at the time the property is listed for sale while the title insurers, who are guaranteeing title, require that the requirements of the law be followed for any tenant in the property in the last 12 months prior to the property being listed for sale. This is to assure that there are no opportunities for a claim against title from a former tenant saying their TOPA rights were violated.   A form called a tenant affidavit, approved by the majority of title insurers operating in DC needs to be signed and notarized for each tenant of the property. The definition of “tenants” is broadly construed under this law.

The following is a broad-brushed outline of a typical TOPA scenario for a single unit property. It does not include all requirements and the steps and timeframes vary depending upon whether or not the Offer of Sale is given with or without the 3rd party Contract of Sale.

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What Clients Say

Brad and Ashley

Ashley and I wanted to thank you for all your hard work and dedication over the past 12 months we worked to resolve the property tax issue with the popes. We really appreciate the extra time and effort you put into making sure we had a positive outcome to the situation.  We also wanted to thank you personally for convincing them to provide us with extra compensation for our trouble. I’m sure you have heard by now they took your advice! Take care and thanks again for everything- we hope you have a wonderful spring and are enjoying the beautiful weather! Regards, Brad and Ashley

 

Thom

Joy- Between the book club, book signing and unique approach to CE classes. You are definitely on the right path. Thanks for everything. Thom

Holly and Hilario

Dear Joy and Todd, Hilario and I want to thank your for all the hard work you did on the behalf of Rittenhouse. We know it was a unique challenge and we are deeply appreciative. Todd and Joy- we are especially amazed at your extreme patience in dealing with Karl! We don’t know how you do it! For all the staff we might have met or who contributed their time to our cause, we send our deep gratitude, as well. Best wishes, Holly and Hilario