The Tenant Opportunity to Purchase act would require landlords who sell their buildings to give tenants an opportunity to buy their homes. It would go a long way to create more affordable, resident-owned social housing.
This is our chance to bring more housing into community control and stop speculators from taking over our neighborhoods. Get involved and fight to pass TOPA in 2022!
This legislation has existed in Washington, D.C. since 1980, and now housing advocates in cities hit hard by the housing crisis, from NYC to Berkley to Minneapolis, are looking to implement it as well.
How would TOPA work?
TOPA would give tenants the first shot at purchasing their building if their landlord puts it up for sale. When a landlord for an eligible building decides to sell, tenants would have the right to form a tenant union with the legal right of first offer and first refusal. Tenants can also waive this right or give it to a “qualified purchaser”: a preapproved nonprofit with a track record of commitment to community ownership.
Tenants would also get access to affordable housing preservation programs that would help them finance the purchase. Subsidy mechanisms, like low- or no- interest financing and property tax exemptions, must be robustly funded in order for tenants and qualified purchasers to buy their buildings.
Why is this important?
Big corporate landlords see our homes as an investment for the wealthy, not a place to live. This has created a volatile market, growing rent arrears, and a full-blown housing crisis. TOPA will help us create more permanently affordable, resident-controlled housing, which will help working-class New Yorkers resist displacement and steer the future of their own neighborhoods.
Are you ready to take back our neighborhoods from private speculators? Email Arielle Hersh at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.