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Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) Overview

The Rental Housing Conversion and Sale Act gives D.C. tenants the right to purchase their building anytime its owners plan to place it up for sale, demolish it, or discontinue its use as a rental. The law sets up a structured sale transaction in which the tenants have special legal protections and prescribed periods of time to organize and finance the purchase of their building. couple holding sold sign

For residents, the process starts when they receive a Notice of Offer of Sale from their landlord informing them that the property’s owners have decided to sell. The purchase price is set by either the sales contract between the property owner and a 3rd party buyer, or by the property owner alone. If the price is set by a 3rd party contract it must be matched by the tenants to be accepted. If the building owner sets the price without an existing contract then that price can be negotiated. Any tenant offer that matches the set price within the perscribed time period must be accepted.  Taken together tenants can have up to 13 months of legally protected time to buy, depending on building size and other factors.

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