HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF THE DC TOPA LAW?
The District has enacted a statute called “TOPA” that gives certain rights to tenants to purchase the property they rent or leverage their own negotiating position to secure other benefits. It is very important to know the in’s and out’s of the law, as there are a number of convoluted and abstruse provisions in the statute that have firm deadlines and procedures. Hiring a DC TOPA attorney or representative is essential if you want to navigate these provisions – whether it be converting a property to a condo regime, or rehabbing and/or selling the property or evicting the tenant with a minimum of trouble and heartache, or anything in between.
DC TENANT OPPORTUNITY TO PURCHASE ACT
DC’s Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) is a statute loaded with challenge and ambiguity. Much to the consternation of practitioners, maybe 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 proposed 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 the group The City Council most had in mind when enacting the legislation, remaining undeserved and are frequently undermined by landlords bent on selling a large apartment building as quickly as possible to a large 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 a small as managing the Offer of the Sale/notice process, to facilitating a healthy and mutually beneficial negotiation between disputing parties, to representing landlords and tenant associations, to condo conversions and litigation.