EBCLC’s Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA)

Welcome to EBCLC’s TOPA page. TOPA, or “Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act”,  is a type of anti-displacement housing policy that gives tenants options to have secure housing when the property they rent goes up for sale, while also preserving affordable housing. Learn more on this page about how TOPA works, our efforts to create TOPA in Berkeley, and the tools you need to bring TOPA to your city.

TOPA prevents displacement by empowering tenants to determine the future of their housing when the owner is ready to sell the property. TOPA does this by creating legal rights to purchase (right of first offer, right of first refusal, and right to assign to a qualified affordable housing developer) and extending the timelines for purchase. TOPA also connects tenants and affordable housing developers with technical assistance, education, and financing to help make these purchases possible.

What are the goals of TOPA?

TOPA aims to…

  • Prevent displacement of low-income communities of color, long-term residents, and other marginalized renters.
  • Preserve and generate much-needed permanently affordable housing for future generations.
  • Curb speculation and level the playing field for tenants and affordable housing developers.
  • Create pathways to home ownership for tenants and promote democratic-residential control of housing.
  • Provide rental security for tenants who wish to stay and rent at an affordable rate.

Learn more at yes2topa.org.

The Latest on our TOPA Campaign: 

In May 2021, Berkeley’s Land Use Policy Committee made a qualified recommendation for TOPA to go to City Council. Contact your City Council member and/or call into City Council meetings, tell them:

“We want to see TOPA scheduled for Council ASAP. We want a strong, tenant-centered TOPA passed!”

Get in touch about how you can get more involved in the effort to pass TOPA: yes2topa@gmail.com. We need you! Visit yes2topa.org regularly for other ways to take action.

History: EBCLC and TOPA

Since 2015, EBCLC’s Community Economic Justice Clinic has been researching and drafting model TOPA policies with community groups for Bay Area cities, and specifically Berkeley, as part of its mission to develop meaningful anti-displacement and affordable housing preservation policies that prioritize the needs of low-income communities of color. In all of our work, the Community Economic Justice Clinic develops meaningful and effective anti-displacement and affordable housing preservation solutions through a thoughtful and collaborative process that prioritizes the needs of vulnerable tenants and advances racial justice. Communities of color have long advocated for increased opportunities for homeownership in Berkeley and the Bay Area. TOPA is one tool – not the only tool – to advance these goals of housing and racial justice.

Read more…




In the News

For more information on EBCLC’s TOPA work, please contact:

  • Hewot Shankute, Staff Attorney/Clinical Supervisor, EBCLC Community Economic Justice Clinic, hshankute@ebclc.org

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