Did you know… that there is a website where tenants can sell their TOPA rights?

Those who sell real estate in the District of Columbia have likely heard of the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA), and many of you have probably had a bad brush with it. TOPA is a tenant’s right law like no other in the country, and navigating it can be difficult, to say the least. In brief, TOPA provides tenants with two rights—an opportunity to purchase the property they live in and a separate right to match a third party contract for the property. The law specifies that tenants may assign their “TOPA rights” for consideration. It is not unusual to have a situation where the seller has a contract with a third party purchaser, the tenant decides to exercise his/her TOPA rights and then assigns the TOPA rights to another party. Now there is a new website, Real Estate First Refusal Exchange that facilitates the sale of TOPA rights. Not only can tenants sign up to sell their rights, but real estate agents with clients interested in buying TOPA rights can also sign up. While the website does not appear to be well known at the moment, if it catches on, it will surely make TOPA cases much more difficult to navigate.