In Case Argued By Jonathan Tycko, The D.C. Court Of Appeals Holds That Transaction At Waterside Towers Apartment Complex Violated Tenants’ Rights Under The D.C. Rental Housing Conversion And Sale Act

On August 26, 2010, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals decided Waterside Towers Resident Association, Inc. v. Trilon Plaza Company. The case was argued on behalf of the Waterside Towers Resident Association in the Court of Appeals by Jonathan Tycko. The case involved a challenge to a transaction that had occurred in late-2003, in which the Waterside Towers apartment complex in Washington, D.C. was sold for approximately $50 million. Under the D.C. Rental Housing Conversion and Sale Act, an apartment building in the District of Columbia cannot be sold without first providing notice to the tenants, and without providing the tenants’ association with a right of first refusal to purchase the property. The 2003 transaction, however, occurred without any notice to the tenants, who found themselves with a new owner, United Dominion Realty Trust. The key question before the Court of Appeals was whether the transaction was indeed a “sale” that triggered the tenants’ rights. The Court held that, at least in part, the transaction was indeed a “sale,” and thus that the tenants’ rights were violated. The case will now return to the D.C. Superior Court, where the tenants will pursue their right to purchase the portion of the property covered by the Court’s ruling. The law firm of Mehri & Skalet PLLC was co-counsel to Tycko & Zavareei LLP on the case.