March 6, 2018 | Press Release

Nadeau Statement on Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act Vote - Office of Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau

“The Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act is a powerful tool – it grants tenants the time and tools to purchase a property from their landlord. But in recent years, the process for single family homes has been manipulated by developers and lawyers who may preemptively purchase a tenant’s right of first refusal and block the homeowner’s otherwise ready-to-go home sale.

“For more than a year I joined community stakeholders in a working group that sought to address the issues with the use of the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act for individual homes. At the heart of this discussion is the urgent need to preserve family-sized housing, which is more and more difficult to find and is not being built at even close to the same rate as smaller units that serve singles. Unfortunately the bill that came before the Council today did not reflect those efforts. Instead of legislation that protects the rights of homeowners who choose to rent their homes, while also balancing the rights of tenants, this legislation eliminated TOPA for single family homes altogether. 

“I have introduced legislation to address TOPA issues, including TOPA abuse for single family homes, that would have focused on key issues within the law and that has not been taken up. In the Housing Committee I contributed amendments that further protect vulnerable tenants, so as to soften the blow of this legislation. I offered another amendment today that would have protected long-time tenants, but it was defeated. 

“I spent a great deal of time listening to the many voices who contributed to this discussion, and reasonable people can disagree respectfully. Ultimately, I believe we can find a balance between the rights of homeowners and tenants, and the current bill does not find that balance. To be clear, we cannot allow third parties to take advantage of our laws. Nor can we allow homeowners to be manipulated by bad actors. But we must use a scalpel, not a sledgehammer to address an issue of such great importance.”

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