Resources & Guides

What is TOPA?

December 21, 2022
Resources & Guides

What is TOPA?

December 21, 2022
Resources & Guides

What is TOPA?

December 21, 2022
Resources & Guides

What is TOPA?

December 21, 2022

What Home Buyers Should Know About TOPA Rights in Washington D.C.


The Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act was enacted over thirty years ago by the D.C. Council. It was an effort to protect renters from being kicked out of their homes without appropriate notice from their landlords. 

While the intent was to protect renters, the application of the law created a looping scenario that, some landlords say is unfair.

In certain situations, TOPA gives tenants the right of first refusal to purchase their rental property if it is being sold. When the law applies, tenants must be notified of the sale and given the opportunity to purchase the property before it is offered to anyone else. The goal of the law is to help protect tenants from being forced to move out of their homes if the property is sold and to provide them with an opportunity to become homeowners if they so choose. 

The specific rules and requirements for the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act TOPA in Washington DC may vary, but generally, the law requires landlords to notify tenants of their right to purchase the property when it’s being sold. The notice must be provided to the tenants in writing and must include certain information about the sale, such as the terms of the sale and the deadline for the tenant to exercise their right of first refusal. 

The old TOPA laws were updated on July 3, 2018 exempting single family dwellings from TOPA, unless occupied by elderly or disabled tenants. 

What Are the TOPA Rules Today?

It depends on whether the sale is for a single family dwelling, a building with two to four units or a building with five or more units.

Single Family Dwellings -

The Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act TOPA applies to single-family dwelling units in Washington DC in the same way that it applies to other types of rental properties. When the law applies, tenants of single-family homes have the right of first refusal to purchase the property if it is being sold. 

Office of the Tenant Advocate

The Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act carves out an exception for rental units occupied by elderly or disabled tenants, who if they fulfill certain criteria may be entitled to a limited opportunity to purchase.

Two to four unit buildings-

Here is information From the office of the Tenant Advocate, for units in two to four unit buildings

columns at the Cairo condominium in Washington D.C.

Five or more unit buildings-

Here is information from the office of the Tenant Advocate, for units in a building with five or more units

DC Condo Act

New condos purchasers are given a 15 day right of rescission from the date of receipt of the public offering statement.

Resale condos are given 3 business days starting the day after the date of receipt of the resale package (condo docs)

Condominiums and Co-op's in Washington D.C. will be governed by a condo association or a cooperative board. When considering a condo or co-op purchase, review the bylaws, financials, meeting minutes and all governing documents. As an owner, you will be expected to abide by all the rules. In addition, you'll want to ensure the association is well managed.

According to the D.C. Council, in the event of a resale of a condominium unit by an owner, the owner is required, on or before the 10th business day following the execution of the contract of sale, to obtain a copy of the following:

a statement of any capital expenditures approved by the unit owners' association that are not reflected in the current operating budget,

a statement of the status and amount of any reserves for capital expenditures, contingencies, and improvements and any funds earmarked for specific projects by the executive board,

a copy of the statement of financial condition for the association and the most recent fiscal year the statement is available, the current operating budget,

statement of any pending suits or judgements to which the unit owners' association is part of,

a copy of insurance covering for all unit owners and the coverage for liability,

a statement that any improvements (remodeling projects) done by the unit owner are not in violation of the condo association rules,

a copy of the remaining term of any leasehold estate affecting the condominium or the condo unit,

for a complete list, click here for the Code of the District of Columbia

Disclaimer: before proceeding with the purchase of a home with tenants, seek the advice of a real estate attorney and/or the Office of the Tenant Advocate

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The exclusive buyer agents at HomeBuyer Brokerage specialize in serving home buyers. Please reach out with questions at info@homebuyerbrokerage.com.

What is TOPA?

By
December 21, 2022
What is TOPA?
What is TOPA?
What is TOPA?
What is TOPA?

What Home Buyers Should Know About TOPA Rights in Washington D.C.


The Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act was enacted over thirty years ago by the D.C. Council. It was an effort to protect renters from being kicked out of their homes without appropriate notice from their landlords. 

While the intent was to protect renters, the application of the law created a looping scenario that, some landlords say is unfair.

In certain situations, TOPA gives tenants the right of first refusal to purchase their rental property if it is being sold. When the law applies, tenants must be notified of the sale and given the opportunity to purchase the property before it is offered to anyone else. The goal of the law is to help protect tenants from being forced to move out of their homes if the property is sold and to provide them with an opportunity to become homeowners if they so choose. 

The specific rules and requirements for the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act TOPA in Washington DC may vary, but generally, the law requires landlords to notify tenants of their right to purchase the property when it’s being sold. The notice must be provided to the tenants in writing and must include certain information about the sale, such as the terms of the sale and the deadline for the tenant to exercise their right of first refusal. 

The old TOPA laws were updated on July 3, 2018 exempting single family dwellings from TOPA, unless occupied by elderly or disabled tenants. 

What Are the TOPA Rules Today?

It depends on whether the sale is for a single family dwelling, a building with two to four units or a building with five or more units.

Single Family Dwellings -

The Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act TOPA applies to single-family dwelling units in Washington DC in the same way that it applies to other types of rental properties. When the law applies, tenants of single-family homes have the right of first refusal to purchase the property if it is being sold. 

Office of the Tenant Advocate

The Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act carves out an exception for rental units occupied by elderly or disabled tenants, who if they fulfill certain criteria may be entitled to a limited opportunity to purchase.

Two to four unit buildings-

Here is information From the office of the Tenant Advocate, for units in two to four unit buildings

columns at the Cairo condominium in Washington D.C.

Five or more unit buildings-

Here is information from the office of the Tenant Advocate, for units in a building with five or more units

DC Condo Act

New condos purchasers are given a 15 day right of rescission from the date of receipt of the public offering statement.

Resale condos are given 3 business days starting the day after the date of receipt of the resale package (condo docs)

Condominiums and Co-op's in Washington D.C. will be governed by a condo association or a cooperative board. When considering a condo or co-op purchase, review the bylaws, financials, meeting minutes and all governing documents. As an owner, you will be expected to abide by all the rules. In addition, you'll want to ensure the association is well managed.

According to the D.C. Council, in the event of a resale of a condominium unit by an owner, the owner is required, on or before the 10th business day following the execution of the contract of sale, to obtain a copy of the following:

a statement of any capital expenditures approved by the unit owners' association that are not reflected in the current operating budget,

a statement of the status and amount of any reserves for capital expenditures, contingencies, and improvements and any funds earmarked for specific projects by the executive board,

a copy of the statement of financial condition for the association and the most recent fiscal year the statement is available, the current operating budget,

statement of any pending suits or judgements to which the unit owners' association is part of,

a copy of insurance covering for all unit owners and the coverage for liability,

a statement that any improvements (remodeling projects) done by the unit owner are not in violation of the condo association rules,

a copy of the remaining term of any leasehold estate affecting the condominium or the condo unit,

for a complete list, click here for the Code of the District of Columbia

Disclaimer: before proceeding with the purchase of a home with tenants, seek the advice of a real estate attorney and/or the Office of the Tenant Advocate

You may download the PDF by clicking here.
Request More Information

We will not share your information with anyone....

First Name*
Last Name*
Email*
Click here to view content
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Thank you for requesting more information...

We value and protect your privacy and will never share your contact information with anyone else.

You may also download the PDF here.

How can we help?

The exclusive buyer agents at HomeBuyer Brokerage specialize in serving home buyers. Please reach out with questions at info@homebuyerbrokerage.com.

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