In July, Julie Gilgoff reported on several municipalities that are exploring legislation that would give tenants the first right of purchase to preserve affordable housing. The proposed legislation is based on Washington, D.C.’s Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA), which was enacted in 1980. As manager of a TOPA program at a D.C.-based organization, I want to discuss factors that will facilitate or hinder the implementation of a program that allows tenants to cooperatively purchase their homes. In addition to purchasing a building, in most cases, the tenants will undertake a full development process, as most buildings purchased under TOPA in D.C. need moderate to substantial rehab….
The Tenant Purchase Working Group has advocated for a more balanced system and DHCD has added some points to the scoring matrix that favor TOPA projects. For example, an application will get an extra point if it is a TOPA project and can get additional points if the development is affordable to people with the lowest incomes.