The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion authored by Chair Hilda L. Solis, Supervisor to the First District and co-authored by Supervisor Sheila Kuehl to develop recommendations for a tenant opportunity to purchase act (TOPA) for unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.
“Between a higher cost of living and larger, private developers outpricing smaller bidders on properties in Los Angeles, there are challenges to maintaining affordable housing options in Los Angeles,” shared Chair Solis. “However, the implementation of policies like TOPA can provide a strategic approach that will empower community tenants and organizations to purchase local properties with the financial resources to compete in the housing market, while increasing the pool of affordable housing options, that could best serve vulnerable populations like low-income families and residents.”
This proposed strategy addresses housing disparities by expanding the pool of potential buyers should owners of certain types of property decide to sell. This expanded pool may include tenants, mission-driven affordable housing developers, community land trusts, and any other person or entity that is committed to providing permanent affordable housing, so they may compete with larger speculative forces in the housing market.
“Tenant Opportunity to Purchase is an innovative strategy to preserve affordable housing and slow gentrification and displacement,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “This approach can reduce the number of working families priced out of our overheated market by making it easier for renters, affordable housing developers, and community land trusts to more easily purchase residential property.”
The passage of this motion directs the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA), in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Development Authority (LACDA), Department of Regional Planning, and County Counsel, to work with local, community-based, mission-driven entities, housing providers, real estate professionals, and other relevant stakeholders to review best practices and lessons learned to develop recommendations for a TOPA policy for the County’s unincorporated areas, and report back in 90 days that would cover administrative policies, review of existing programs, staffing needs, operations and more.
The motion also provides DCBA with delegated authority to enter into agreements with consultants/contractors, as needed, in order to produce the 90-day report back. Additionally, it directs CEO in consultation with DCBA and LACDA, to identify overall proposed cost and potential funding sources for implementation of the proposed TOPA ordinance and program.