TOPA: Form One for Single Family Dwellings

Hello this is Deirdre Brown your settlement agent serving the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.  Today we are going to talk about TOPA Form 1. Form 1 is used if your property falls under the single family exemption amendment act of 2018. This form is what starts the TOPA process.  

Of you are a landlord of a single family or a single family home with an accessory dwelling unit you must provide notice to your tenants if you plan to sell the property. This form must be Issued within three days of either soliciting a purchase or receiving an offer for sell. What that means is that if you have listed your property within three days you must issue this form to each of your tenants. If you received a contract or an offer to buy your property then you need to issue this form within three days Remember that this form needs to go to each one of your tenants as individuals. There never should be two names on any TOPA forms. You will also need to send a copy of each Form 1 to the Department of Housing and Community Development and to the Office of Tenant Advocate.   You will need to include a blank form 2 and Form 4 in each packet to the tenants. Although the form states that you can hand-deliver or mail it via first-class mail, you cannot. Unfortunately the title insurance underwriters require that you serve each tenant, separately, via a method that has tracking.  certified mail.  Make sure that you keep a scanned copy of the Form 1 and the proof of mailing. You will need to provide it to your title company as proof of TOPA compliance. Your tenant has twenty days to respond with Form 2 and Form 4 indicating that they want to exercise their first right of refusal – if they are eligible to do so.  If not, then most title insurance underwriters are just requesting that the tenant sign an affidavit stating that they received their TOPA notice (Form 1) and are not exercising any rights.  The good news is that this TOPA service is good for one year.  

If you need more details about serving TOPA please reach out to me at 

If you have any questions or comments please reach out!

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