§ 53A-4. Right of first refusal to buy rental housing.  


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  •    (a)    Right of first refusal. An owner must offer the County, HOC, and any tenant organization the right to buy rental housing before selling the rental housing to another party, except as provided under Section 53A-5.

       (b)   Requirements for offer.  An offer required by subsection (a) must:

    (1)   be in writing;

    (2)   be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, within 5 business days after:

    (A)   the execution of a bona fide contract of sale, for the County, HOC, and any existing tenant organization; or

    (B)   the Department certifies a tenant organization, for a new tenant organization formed under Section 53A-3(b);

    (3)   include substantially the same terms and conditions as a pending bona fide contract of sale from a third party to buy the rental housing; and

    (4)   remain open for

    (A)   60 days after it is received, for the County and HOC; and

    (B)   90 days after it is received by any tenant organization, including a new tenant organization formed under Section 53A-3(b).

       (c)    Information and inspection. The owner must give the County, HOC, and any tenant organization:

    (1)   any information about the rental housing relevant to exercising the right of first refusal, such as architectural and engineering plans and specifications, and operating data; and

    (2)   access to the rental housing to inspect the property and conduct reasonable tests at reasonable times after reasonable notice.

    The County, HOC, and any tenant organization must pay the owner a reasonable deposit for any architectural and engineering plans that the owner provides. The owner must refund the deposit when the plans are returned to the owner. The County Executive must issue regulations to implement this subsection.

       (d)    Exercise of right of first refusal.

    (1)   The County, HOC, or a tenant organization may exercise the right of first refusal by accepting the offer within the applicable period under subsection (b)(4). The County and HOC may accept an offer to buy rental housing in a municipality only if the municipality approves.

    (2)   The owner must sell the rental housing under the right of first refusal if the acceptance includes substantially the same terms and conditions contained in the owner's bona fide contract of sale with the third party, including any contract term that provides for a bona fide real estate commission payable to an independent broker.  Notwithstanding this general requirement or any term of the contract, the County, HOC, or a tenant organization may condition its acceptance on obtaining financing at any time before the deadline in paragraph (3) for completing the sale.

    (3)   The owner and the County, HOC, or tenant organization must complete a sale under this subsection within 180 days after the County, HOC, or tenant organization receives the owner's offer unless the owner agrees to extend the 180-day period.

    (4)   Before a tenant organization completes a sale under paragraph (3), a majority of all of the tenants must ratify the purchase.

    (5)   The right of first refusal applies in the following order of priority:

    (A)   the County;

    (B)   HOC; and

    (C)   any tenant organization.

    (6)   The Executive must issue regulations that establish procedures and guidelines for exercising the County’s right of first refusal.

       (e)    Expiration of right of first refusal. If the County, HOC, and any tenant organization do not exercise their rights of first refusal within the applicable period under subsection (b)(4), the owner  may sell the rental housing to the third party buyer under substantially the same terms and conditions offered to the County, HOC, and any tenant organization.

       (f)   Immunity.  The County, HOC, and any tenant organization are not liable for any damages incurred by the owner, a third-party buyer, a tenant, or any other person in connection with a decision to exercise or not exercise a right of first refusal under this Section.  (1990 L.M.C., ch. 34, § 1; 1996 L.M.C., ch. 13, § 1; 2001 L.M.C., ch. 32 , § 1.)

       Editor’s note—Former § 53A-3, was amended and divided into two new sections, numbered §§ 53A-4 and 53A-5, pursuant to 2001 L.M.C., ch. 32, § 1.