TOPA Rights

Author: Susan Isaacs | The Isaacs Team

The Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act in the District of Columbia (TOPA) affords qualifying tenants unique rights. The homeowner and landlord must comply with all TOPA laws and provide tenants with appropriate disclosures when applicable.

What Is TOPA?

Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act is a law in the District of Columbia that requires owners of real property to provide tenants first right of refusal.

TOPA Has Changed


On February 3, 2022, DC Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act registration and negotiation time periods were tolled retroactively from January 5, 2022, through February 15, 2022.


Changes exempting single family dwellings from TOPA, unless occupied by elderly or disabled tenants. Owners of single-family homes are not required to offer tenants TOPA rights, only to comply with notice requirements.

The significant provisions of the TOPA Single-Family Home Exemption Amendment Act of 2017 (Bill 22-0315) are:

  • Also exempted from TOPA:  Single family dwellings with an Accessory Dwelling Unit and a single rental unit in a condo, co-op or homeowners’ association.
  • An owner of exempted units must give tenants notice within three calendar days of receiving an offer of sale.
  • Elderly and disabled tenants who signed a lease to occupy 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. They must provide documentation verifying their status.
  • DHCD’s Rental Conversion and Sale Division (CASD) will determine an elderly or disabled tenant’s status.

TOPA Notices

The DC Department of Housing and Community Development offers TOPA forms online. They designate whom is to be given notice, when notice must be given and how notice is to be given. The forms also specify notice and submission timeframes for all parties. Giving notice to each tenants (even those without a formal lease) is not sufficient. Landlords must also give notice to the Mayor c/o District of Columbia Department of Housing and Community Development – Rental Conversion and Sale Division.

Take Note

  • TOPA rules changed in 2018 and 2022
  • Single family dwellings are mostly exempt
  • Elderly and Disabled rights apply

Tracey And John Say

“Susan and Alex are amazing! Over the past five years they helped us purchase then later sell a condo, and also purchase a rowhouse. Each time they demonstrated above-and-beyond dedication, expertise, and responsiveness, as well as consummate professionalism. On the buyer side, they will help you structure competitive winning offers. On the seller side, Susan’s knack for renovations and staging was impressive, and our condo sold within a day and for over list price.”



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