DC’s Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) is a statute loaded with challenge and ambiguity. Much to the consternation of practitioners, whether they be real estate agents, lenders or title companies, or sellers/landlords, this statute has caused confusion and delay in many real estate transactions in DC. As much as 33% of pending sales each month are postponed because of perceived or actual non-compliance with the statute.
DC’s Department of Housing and community Development has multiple sub-agencies, including the Office of the Tenant Advocate and the Rental Conversion and Sale Division, dedicated to administering the vagaries of the statute and/or providing advice to landlords and tenants. Because of the potential liability associated with non-compliance, title underwriters impose even higher standards than the statute requires to ensure complete compliance. Meanwhile, tenants game the system and take advantage of rights accorded them, even outside the context in which they were intended to adhere. Finally, tenant associations, arguably group the City Council most had in mind whenenacting the legislation, remain underserved and are frequently undermined by landlords bent on selling a large apartment building as quickly as posible to a large hedge fund, without regard to even a good faith effort toward statutory compliance.
Knowing and understanding the various actors and statutory nuances enables us to represent, negotiate and structure win-win solutions to a variety of circumstances. We offer services as small as managing the Offer of Sale/Notice Process, to facilitating a healthy and mutually beneficial negotiation between disputing parties, to representing landlords and tenant association, to condo conversions and litigation.