Organizing a Tenant Association

Is your apartment building for sale in the District of Columbia? Do you live in an apartment building that has poor housing conditions? You can form a tenant association with your neighbors to protect your legal rights.

By forming a tenant association, renters in the District of Columbia can work together to call for repairs, challenge illegal rent increases, and purchase their apartment building when put up for sale. LEDC organizers work with renters to understand the benefits of forming a tenant association. 

According to the DC Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA), tenant associations have the first right to purchase their apartment building when it’s for sale or assign this right to someone else. 

Through TOPA, DC residents are able to join with their neighbors to create a better future for their families and communities by taking control of decisions affecting their housing. DC residents have used TOPA to become homeowners, preserve their affordable housing, get needed renovations to their homes, and prevent displacement. Tenant associations that decide to purchase often use local funds from the local Housing Production Trust Fund to create an affordable housing cooperative. Once purchased, LEDC provides ongoing technical assistance to assist the residents in their new roles as owners. 

LEDC also works with tenant associations to improve poor housing conditions through negotiations with building management and use of DC’s new Housing Conditions Court. The court allows renters to sue their landlords for refusing to fix violations under DC’s housing code. 

Are you interested in forming a tenant association where you live? Contact Senior Bilingual Tenant Organizer, Ricardo Gallardo at [email protected]