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UT Reader Asks: How Far in Advance Must an Owner Present Tenant with Offer of Sale?

by Nena Perry-Brown

DC is known for being a tenant-friendly city, and one of the more powerful tools that city tenants have at their disposal is the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA). UrbanTurf has already delved into how TOPA works and what tenants’ and landlords’ rights and responsibilities are when it comes to sale of property. For this installment of UT Reader Asks, we answer a reader’s question about the required timing of TOPA notices.

How much advance notice must an owner provide the tenant before listing a property for sale?

Although tenants’ right of first refusal in sale of their rental residence is unimpeachable, the laws are less concerned with when a property is listed than in good-faith efforts being made by the landlord to negotiate with the tenant.

  • In residences with an individual rental unit, once the landlord presents the tenant with an offer of sale, the tenant then has 30 days to formally submit a statement of interest. Once that interest is recorded, the landlord and tenant then are afforded a minimum of 60 days to negotiate a potential sale.
  • In buildings with two to four rental units, the landlord must present each tenant with an offer of sale, which then gives them 15 days to formally submit a joint statement of interest. If the tenants do not collectively agree to purchase, an individual tenant may do so and has an additional 7 days to submit their statement of interest. There is a minimum 90-day negotiation period in this instance.
  • In buildings with five or more rental units, the landlord must present each tenant with an offer of sale. If the tenants already have a tenant association in place, they have 30 days to submit a statement of interest; if a tenant association has not yet been formed, the tenants are given 45 days. Sale negotiations must be a minimum of 120 days in this case.

In all of the aforementioned examples, the landlord can already have an offer to purchase from a third party prior to presenting the tenant(s) with an offer of sale. If an offer exists either prior to or during negotiations with the tenant(s), the tenant(s) have the right to request a copy of that contract and the negotiation period must be extended 15 days.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/faq_on_topa_how_far_in_advance/11459

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