Press Release: Single Family TOPA Advances


February 23, 2018

Contact: Emmanuel Brantley

(202) 741-0918


WASHINGTON, DC – This afternoon, Councilmember Anita Bonds, Chair of the Committee on Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization, convened a committee markup to review the “Limited-Equity Cooperative Task Force Act of 2018”, the “Rental Unit Fee Adjustment Amendment Act of 2018”, and the “TOPA Single-Family Home Exemption Amendment Act of 2018”, which was formerly known as the “TOPA Accessory Dwelling Unit Amendment Act of 2017”.

The purpose of the “TOPA Single-Family Home Exemption Amendment Act of 2018” is to exempt single-family homes, except those housing elderly or disabled tenants, from the requirements of the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA). This means that property owners will not have to provide their tenants, except for those whom are elderly or disabled, with the right to purchase the property before deciding to sell it to a third-party.

While TOPA was established more than 30 years ago “to balance and, to the maximum extent possible, meet the sometimes-conflicting goals of creating [opportunities for] homeownership for lower income tenants… [preserve] affordable rental housing, and [minimize] displacement”, as was stated by Councilmember Bonds, this exemption is necessary to protect property owners from tenants that have manipulated TOPA’s policies to prevent third-party sales.

As amended, this bill will define an “elderly” tenant as any person age 62 or older, rather than age 70 or older, and will also require that the housing provider submit a copy of any written intent of sale to the Office of the Tenant Advocate in order to empower any vulnerable elderly or disabled tenant to understand and assert their rights in this matter.

Today’s hearing was attended by Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, Councilmember Brianne Nadeau, and Councilmember Trayon White. After a successful vote, each of the three bills will move towards passage by the full Council during the March 6th Legislative Meeting.


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