Time to Support Tenant Opportunity to Purchase (TOPA) in Berkeley

For years, EBCOHO members have asked us how they can buy property and create affordable cohousing and cooperative communities here in Berkeley and Oakland.

Well, the time has come --- both cities are considering a new Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) which will make that more possible than any time in the last 25 years!   TOPA means tenants will get notice from landlords before their building goes on the market, and can band together to make an offer, or designate a community partner to negotiate on their behalf -- and then be eligible for public funds. 


Believe it or not, the opposition is real; your voice and signature will make a difference

TOPA is a grassroots coalition effort spearheaded by our community partners the Bay Area Community Land Trust (BACLT), the Northern California Land Trust (NCLT), the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC) with support from the Mayor and a dozen community groups and political coalitions including East Bay Housing Organizations (EBHO). TOPA will also fund technical assistance and training for groups wanting to create resident-owned or resident owned communities. 

Sadly, there is opposition!  Every voice counts. 

TOPA will be an important tool for keeping rents cool, and expanding resident owned and managed housing communities.  Learn more about TOPA and join us in signing a petition to the Berkeley City Council before this Thursday morning’s meeting of the Land Use, Housing and Economic Development Committee. You can still sign the petition any time up to the City Council vote. We'll keep you posted! 

Berkeley, like the rest of the Bay Area, faces a housing crisis, one marked by rising rental prices and a hot housing market with international hedge funds and corporate nonprofits adding Bay Area properties to its global real estate portfolios. With 75% of the city’s low-income census tracts at risk of or undergoing displacement and a continued loss of thousands of Black and Brown households, Berkeley desperately needs anti-displacement strategies that prioritize low and moderate renters and communities of color. One of those strategies is the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA).

TOPA prevents displacement by empowering tenants with choices for their future housing when the owner of a rental property decides to sell (learn how it works here!). In Washington, DC, TOPA has helped preserve over 3500 units of affordable housing since 2002, and those numbers continue to grow. 

Berkeley’s TOPA policy is designed to:

  • Prevent displacement of low-income communities of color and marginalized tenants

  • Create permanently affordable housing

  • Create pathways to ownership for tenants and promote democratic residential control

  • Stabilize housing for existing tenants

  • Give tenants choice and voice regarding their housing

  • Protect rental housing from speculative investment by keeping them in the community

Now is the time for Berkeley to pass a TOPA policy that helps meet Berkeley’s housing crisis and needs. 

We can’t do this without you. Raise your voice for TOPA today!

Please sign our TOPA petition today --- and plan and join other community actions at: