DC Association of Realtors Says Proposed TOPA Bill Doesn’t Go Far Enough

by Nena Perry-Brown

Earlier this week, the DC Council introduced a bill that would exempt owner-occupied single-family homes with a rental unit from the city’s TOPA regulations. The DC Association of Realtors (DCAR) is now taking the stance that the bill doesn’t go far enough.

“While we consider this legislation to be a step in the right direction, we firmly believe this bill must be expanded to fully exempt all single-family units from [Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA)] coverage,” DCAR President Colin Johnson says. “The cost of affordable single-family homes and affordable rental units continues to rise as random tenants and TOPA chasers take advantage of the current regulatory system.”

DCAR created a TOPA task force in 2014 that examined a variety of scenarios in which the law played out, leading them to draft and submit proposed legislation to the DC Council this past February. In citing examples where a homeowner may have a roommate or where the owner may live in the basement of a home they are renting out, it is DCAR’s stance that the law should exempt all single-family homes with and without accessory dwelling units to ensure that homeowners don’t face any additional hardship and that there are no gray areas to exploit.

“Because the legislation is so incredibly narrow, for a lot of the places that TOPA has failed in the single-family realm, it would actually make the law muddier,” DCAR Government Affairs Director Katalin Peter explained to UrbanTurf.

As currently proposed, the “TOPA Accessory Dwelling Unit Act of 2017” would eliminate the right of first refusal for tenants in an accessory dwelling unit of an owner-occupied single-family home, within certain parameters. For example, the owner must occupy at least two-thirds of the home in question to qualify for the exemption, potentially adding another loophole for lawyers to utilize.

In the wake of anecdotal evidence of advantageous, savvy renters who may not intend to actually purchase their rental property, along with an overall dearth of housing supply, affordable or otherwise, the bill would make it easier for homeowners to list their personal homes.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dc_association_of_realtors_says_proposed_topa_bill_doesnt_go_far_enough/12667

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