DC Council introduced a bill that will exempt owner-occupied, single family homes from TOPA laws with certain parameters.
The 1980 Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) was created out of the Rental Housing Conversation and Sale Act. It is designed to restrict owner rights and provide benefits to tenants. The benefits for tenants include the option to purchase as well as the ability to assign their right to purchase to a third party.
If you are considering buying a property that is tenant occupied or if you are thinking about renting your property out, you need to familiarize yourself with the Washington DC Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act. The process can be a challenge to navigate, so it is strongly recommended that you hire an agent or an attorney with experience in handing the TOPA.
Earlier this month, the TOPA Act made real estate headlines in the area when Councilmember Anita Bonds introduced the "TOPA Accessory Dwelling Unit Act of 2017."
The new bill will exempt owner occupied, single family homes with accessory dwelling units from TOPA law with certain parameters. There must be two dwelling units in the housing accommodation, one of which must contain at least 2/3rd of the total square footage of the housing accommodation, and the larger dwelling much be owner occupied. The accessory dwelling unit must also have all of the required building and occupancy permits.
In simpler terms, owners need to be occupying at the very least two-thirds of the home to qualify for an exemption. This could add an additional loophole to the many the TOPA Act has. If you’d like to get into renting out a property, keep in mind it is extremely difficult to evict a tenant in Washington, D.C. and the expiration of a lease does not give you the ability to do so.