For residents in the District of Columbia who desire stability and affordability, the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) is a powerful tool.
TOPA, allows renters the first opportunity to purchase or transfer real estate when their rental property is put on the market. Essentially, the act allows renters the first right of refusal of the home in which they live.
History of the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act
Passed in 1980, TOPA was a direct response to the housing shortage that occurred in the 1970’s. Over the last 42 years, TOPA has preserved the homes of countless residents in the greater D.C. area.
To review the full Rental Housing Conversion and Sale Act of 1980 which includes the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act, click here.
In 2018, an amendment was made to exempt single-family dwellings from TOPA after research showed that only 5% of tenants actually purchased their homes after receiving a TOPA notice. However, exceptions to the bill include disabled tenants and those over 62 years of age as displacement is particularly difficult.
Relevance of TOPA in Today’s Housing Market
Today, the latest United States Census Bureau data shows that nearly 60% of D.C. residents rent their homes, making TOPA more relevant than ever. In a hot real estate market, where inventory is already low, maintaining available properties for low to medium-income individuals to rent is the main objective of TOPA.
To view the latest tenant notices, click here.
How to Comply with TOPA
According to the act, 90 days prior to the proposed date of transfer, property owners are required to send a Notice of Transfer to the tenants occupying the property. The notice must be mailed to the occupied address unless another address has been provided in writing by the renter. The notice is to be sent via Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested and includes Electronic Delivery Confirmation.
With other states, New York, Massachusetts, and California to name a few, taking notes and proposing similar acts, it’s important to understand the key role Certified Mail plays regarding TOPA notices.
TOPA Notices and Certified Mail® Go Hand-In-Hand
Certified Mail Labels is the industry’s most cost-effective way to mail TOPA notices. With 16 years in the business, we’ve completed over 250 million transactions. Our full-service, print and mail solution is convenient and affordable for any size mailing. It’s time to skip the trip to the printer and Post Office and send your notifications with Certified Mail Labels.
For more information about TOPA requirements, please contact the government agency responsible, Office of the Tenant Advocate.
About Certified Mail Labels
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Users receive 'proof of mailing', acceptance by the United States Postal Service, USPS tracking, Electronic Delivery Confirmation, and Return Receipt Signature for each compliance letter sent at no additional cost.