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Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (July 3, 2018)

GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Summary of Act 22-339

The TOPA Single-Family Home Exemption

Amendment Act of 2018

Effective July 3, 2018

 

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NEW LAW

  • Exempts single family dwellings from the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act of 1980 (TOPA) unless occupied by elderly or disabled tenants.
  • Also exempts single family dwellings with an Accessory Dwelling Unit and a single rental unit in a condo, co-op or homeowners’ association.
  • An owner of such an exempted unit must give tenants notice within three calendar days of soliciting or receiving an offer of sale.  Elderly and disabled tenants who signed a lease to occupy such an exempted unit by March 31, 2018 and took occupancy by April 15, 2018 will have a limited opportunity to purchase or assign their rights.
  • DHCD’s Rental Conversion and Sale Division (CASD) will determine an elderly or disabled tenant’s status.  Elderly or disabled tenants must provide documentation verifying their status.
  • CASD must provide a status letter to the owner, tenant, realtor, or settlement agent upon request.
  • CASD must provide written confirmation of receipt (or non-receipt) of any document required to be delivered to CASD upon request.
  • The Act also prohibits the eviction of any tenant except in accordance with eviction provisions under the Rental Housing Act of 1985 (D.C. Official Code 2001 ed., as amended, §42-3501.01 et seq.)

 

BACKGROUND

TOPA provides that before an owner may sell, demolish, or discontinue housing use of a rental accommodation, the owner must give tenants an opportunity to purchase and a right of first refusal to match a third party contract. Tenants have the power to assign their opportunity to purchase to any party for any consideration a tenant deems acceptable in her sole discretion

 

About the New Law

On April 10, 2018, the District of Columbia City Council passed the TOPA Single-Family Home Exemption Amendment Act of 2017 (Bill 22-0315 transmitted to Mayor April 24, 2018), which was signed by the Mayor on May 7, 2018 as The TOPA Single-Family Home Exemption Amendment Act of 2018 and became effective July 3, 2018. The Act exempts all single-family dwellings from the requirements of TOPA (D.C. Official Code 2001 ed., as amended, § 42- 3404.01 et seq.). The 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.