‘Tenant Opportunity to Purchase’ Ordinance Proposed by Councilmember Nikki Bas

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Nikki Fortunato Bas (left) spoke at a news conference on Jan. 20 with Dominique Walker (right) in front of Oakland City Hall regarding Moms 4 Housing purchasing the Wedgewood owned home the homeless moms had occupied as an act of civil disobedience. Photo by Michelle Snider.

Inspired by Moms 4 Housing mothers, District 2, Oakland councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas introduced the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) at the City Council’s rules and legislation committee meeting on Jan. 30.

Standing with Dominique Walker and Tolani King of Moms 4 Housing in front of city hall along with other supporters, Bas said she is assuring the ordinance is scheduled to be heard by Oakland’s Community Economic Development Committee on Feb. 25.

According to Bas, the proposed ordinance would protect Oakland residents by allowing them a first right to purchase available homes, incentivizing the transfer of property ownership to tenants, community land trusts, or nonprofit affordable housing developers. Bas said the ordinance will relieve displacement, gentrification, and reduce homelessness.

“It was the brave action of Moms 4 Housing that has shown the entire Bay Area, the entire nation, even the world, that housing is a human right,” Bas said. “Housing is not a commodity to be bought and sold. Moms 4 Housing revealed that corporate speculators have bought up housing all across the country so that more of it is held for-profit and not accessible to people who need homes while homelessness is growing across the country.  Homelessness has increased by 47% in the last two years.”

According to Bas, TOPA programs have been adopted in other cities nationally including Washington, DC where the law has been in place for 20 years.

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