The Community Opportunity to Purchase Act (COPA) is a law that affords rights to qualified non-profit organizations to provide the first offer or first refusal to purchase properties on the market. This aims to create housing affordability and prevent the displacement of tenants.
Residential properties subject to COPA include:
- Vacant land that someone could develop into three or more residential units
- Buildings containing three or more residential units
How TOPA and COPA Protect Neighborhoods
The Tenant Opportunity to Purchase (TOPA) gives tenants in multi-family buildings advance notice if their landlord plans to sell the property. They can decide if they want to purchase the building together.
Much like COPA, TOPA aims to preserve affordable housing for low-income renters. It also provides tenants with certain rights. Long-time residents won’t have to leave their homes if they have the opportunity to purchase the property.
Under TOPA, the landlord must offer the property to their tenants first. The tenants must form a tenant organization. They also have to submit a formal Statement of Interest and Application for Registration to their landlord and the city to buy the building.
Tenants have the option to secure financing for the purchase of the property. They must complete this task within 120 days. However, some exceptions allow a longer period. They also have the right to buy the building outright. If they choose this option, they can convert it into a condominium or cooperative format and transfer their rights to another party, such as a developer. The developer must continue to operate the property as rentals, and the tenants can establish the terms, such as upgrades and rental amounts.
These laws are crucial to help preserve neighborhoods with residents that face possible displacement, because many can’t afford to move. Families also face various hardships if they’re forced out of their homes. They don’t have the financial means to afford moving expenses and a deposit on a new place, which means many of these families could experience homelessness as a result.
TOPA and COPA can remove the burden and fear of not having a place to live. Non-profit organizations and the tenants of these properties can work together to keep families together and avoid being pushed out by landlords interested in upgrading the building to charge a higher rent.
What Should I Know About COPA?
Owners of eligible properties must notify the non-profit organizations of their intent to sell. This allows these organizations to decide if they want to purchase the property. They have five days to consider whether they’re interested. If they are, they have another twenty-five days to submit their offer to the owner. The seller would then decide if they want to accept or reject the offer.
Upon completion of the sale, deed restrictions make the building rent-restricted housing. That means a new landlord can’t require a deposit of over 5%. They also can’t charge rent exceeding 80% of the median income in the area.
Qualified non-profits have a right to the first refusal, giving them the option to match any existing competing offers. That means the seller must allow the non-profit to refuse previously made offers during their right of the first offer period. If they want to purchase the property, they will have five calendar days to agree to the terms and conditions made by the third-party buyer.
How a Real Estate Attorney Can Help
A real estate attorney can help you navigate the complexities of COPA and TOPA. This isn’t something you should attempt to take on alone. Whether you’re a tenant, property owner, or non-profit organization eligible to purchase a residential building, an experienced real estate attorney from Winton Strauss Law Group, P.C., could represent you in your case.
We can review the circumstances of the transaction and create a strategy to overcome any obstacles you face and resolve disputes that arise. We can guide you through the process of purchasing or selling property subject to COPA or TOPA laws. If we need to take your case to court, our trial lawyers have the resources to meet your needs and try to reach your desired outcome.
Contact Winton Strauss Today
If you face a legal matter regarding the Community Opportunity to Purchase Act or Tenant Opportunity to Purchase, do not hesitate to contact Winton Strauss. Call us today for a confidential consultation by calling (415) 985-2111 or reach out to us online.