Legal Alert

D.C. to Lift TOPA Moratorium

by Roger D. Winston, Katherine M. Noonan, Kyle DeThomas, and Shanice McClelland
July 14, 2021

In March 2020, the D.C. Council authorized and Mayor Bowser effectuated a public health emergency (PHE). The PHE declaration included restrictions on evictions and rent increases and also tolled all time periods under the D.C. Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) for the duration of the PHE, and for 30 days after. As a result, pending sales of many rental properties in D.C. stalled or slowed down considerably.

Although the PHE was extended several times and the Mayor has the authority to further extend the PHE, she has indicated that she does not intend to do so. This week the D.C. Council introduced emergency legislation addressing rent increases and evictions after the end of the PHE. However, it appears that the moratorium on TOPA deadlines in the PHE may finally be coming to an end.

If the PHE expires as scheduled on July 25, 2021, TOPA time periods will cease to be tolled 30 days later. This means that for properties where TOPA notices are issued on or prior to August 24, 2021, the TOPA clock should be deemed to commence on August 24, 2021.

For any TOPA notice issued after August 24, 2021, the TOPA clock will commence once the TOPA notice is transmitted in accordance with the normal TOPA requirements.

Please let us know if you have any questions or if you would like to discuss these recent developments.

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Maya Brennan/Courtesy of D.C. Council

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