TOPA Power: Allowing Distressed Tenants To Buy Out Landlords

A evicted tenant squats on a couch beside his microwave
Evicted photo by Gideon is licensed under CC BY 2.0
A evicted tenant turns the tables and buys out his landlord. Fantasyland? Read on.

The headline above seems to suggest an absurd impossibility. The idea that a battered tenant on the brink of rent default and eviction might somehow rise from the floor of the fight cage to deliver that decisive knockout blow to the perennial bad guy . . . come on now, this ain’t a movie!

And yet, multiple jurisdictions in the U.S. have entertained, or are now entertaining, just such ideas (minus the over-the-top imagery, of course.)

The following article shortens the mouthful “Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act” to TOPA and describes existing and proposed legislative frameworks that give tenants under threat of eviction the right to purchase their rental accommodation.

How does a struggling near-penniless tenant wind up as an owner instead of a renter? It sounds unlikely, but there are a number of ways. For an extensive discussion of the possibilities, read more in Shelterforce. Giving Tenants the First Opportunity to Purchase Their Homes