The Richmond City Council is currently considering a radical ordinance called TOPA (Tenant' Opportunity to Purchase Act). It's being sold as a way to prevent displacement and promote ownership opportunities for tenants; but in reality the 14 page ordinance will not create opportunity for any of our residents. It uses our underprivileged as a front to grant the city the power to dictate how properties are sold, to whom they can be sold, and even how much they can be sold for.
Renters: Does buying a property that the city controls but you have to pay for sound good to you? It would essentially remove all the financial benefits of ownership (appreciation, income, tenancy control), and leave you with all the responsibilities. How is that a worthwhile investment? Once the city converts the title to be "permanently affordable" what is that property then worth? Would a bank even grant a borrower a loan under these conditions?
Homeowners/property owners: How would you feel if the sale price of your house or income property was dictated by a "city trained" appraiser? And how about regulations that could delay a sale indefinitely? What if you need to sell quickly, or want to use your triplex for your family members? Under this ordinance these types of scenarios would go out the window.
So who looks to benefit from this ordinance? If you read the fine print, it's special interests groups. "Non-profit" third parties that can have the tenant' rights transferred to them, leverage them against the owner, then later claim a potential exemption from all the "permanent affordability regulations."
Everyone who cares about our city should be against it.
TOPA ordinance Association of United Richmond Housing Providers