Our Platform

Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act

S221 Myrie / A3353 Mitaynes

TOPA, or Tenant Opportunity to Purchase, gives tenants the right to make the first offer on their building if the landlord decides to sell it. Working together, tenants associations could access public money and financing and convert their homes into permanently affordable social housing.

Tenants across New York are living in unsafe apartments – a key reason impetus to organize with their neighbors and form a tenant association. But organized tenants cost landlords money! Landlords often look to sell  well-organized buildings , forcing the tenants back to square one with their negotiations. TOPA would interrupt this speculative, union-busting practice.

TOPA creates the potential for tenants to buy the buildings in which they live and convert them into limited-equity cooperatives, community land trusts, or even public housing. In this way, TOPA builds on New York’s radical history of social housing development, which includes conversions of squatted tenaments into low-income cooperatives on the Lower East Side and in East Harlem, as well as union-supported constructions of limited-equity cooperatives like  Co-op City and Penn South.

TOPA laws exist in Washington D.C., San Francisco, Minneapolis and more. Washington DC’s TOPA law has been used to create thousands of units of limited equity cooperatives and affordable rentals. 

In New York, tenants are already doing TOPA conversions without the right provided by our bill: 

A Landlord ‘Underestimated’ His Tenants. Now They Could Own the Building.

New York Times

In 2017, a new landlord bought out 700 E. 134th St. for $4M and quickly moved to start jacking up rents. Tenants banded together to fight back and eventually worked with a nonprofit to buy the building as a limited equity co-op. Tenants will now be able to buy their apartments for just $2,500 each. 

  • Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD)
  • Bailey’s Cafe
  • Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union
  • Brownsville Partnership
  • Caribbean Equality Project
  • Carroll Gardens Association
  • Catholic Migration Services (CMS)
  • Center for NYC Neighborhoods
  • Chhaya Community Development Corporation
  • Churches United For Fair Housing
  • City Roots Community Land Trust
  • Citywide Tenant Union of Rochester
  • Community Allies
  • Community Service Society of New York
  • Cooper Sq. Community Land Trust
  • CWTU
  • East New York Community Land Trust
  • El Puente de Williamsburg
  • Equality for Flatbush (E4F)
  • For the Many
  • FWD Landscape
  • Genesee Co-op Federal Credit Union
  • Goddard Riverside
  • Grow Brownsville
  • Hester Street
  • HOPE
  • Housing Rights Initiative
  • Neighbors Together
  • New Economy Project
  • New York City Community Land Initiative (NYCCLI)
  • New York City Network of Worker Cooperatives
  • North Star Fund
  • NWBCCC – Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition
  • Open New York
  • Picture the Homeless
  • Pratt Center for Community Development
  • RENA (Riverside -Edgecombe Neighborhood Association)
  • TakeRoot Justice
  • Theatre of the Oppressed NYC
  • This Land Is Ours CLT
  • Tulinde, LLC
  • UHAB
  • United Neighbors Organization (UNO)
  • United Tenants of Albany
  • Universe City NYC
  • Unlock NYC
  • Urban Justice Center – Safety Net Project
  • Village Preservation
  • We Stay/Nos Quedamos
  • Western Queens CLT
  • Zara Tenant Coalition (ZTC)

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