EBCLC’s Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA)

Welcome to EBCLC’s TOPA page and toolkit. 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. TOPA ensures purchased properties remain permanently affordable.

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.

The Latest on our TOPA Campaign: 

We’re advocating with community partners for the City of Berkeley to put necessary, promised funding into the existing Small Sites Program, which will be the funding mechanism for purchases under TOPA.

 

History

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.

Read more…


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

Seema Rupani, Staff Attorney/Clinical Supervisor, EBCLC Community Economic Justice Clinic, srupani@ebclc.org

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

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