As a settlement attorney in the District of Columbia, the last thing you want to hear for the first time at the settlement table is there are/were tenants in the property being sold.
The Tenant’s Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) is very pro-tenant and is often daunting for agents to tackle as part of a listing or as part of a purchase. Fortunately, there is guidance out there and the shock of the last-minute TOPA issue has become less likely as agents and their clients have become more educated on the process.
The Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors (GCAAR) has been proactive in getting forms out on its platform to assist agents, such as the Tenancy Addendum for Washington, DC and a TOPA Affidavit that is accepted by most title insurance underwriters.
The DC Department of Housing and Community Development now provides the Tenant Notice forms online. These forms are very specific as to who is to be given notice, when notice is to be given and how notice is to be given. The forms also specify the timeframes in which all parties – property owners and tenants – are to act.
It is important to note that giving notice to each of the tenants is not enough in the District of Columbia; you must also give notice to the Mayor c/o District of Columbia Department of Housing and Community Development – Rental Conversion and Sale Division.
Following directions on these forms is imperative for a successful tenant occupied property sale.