Right-to-Purchase Policy Empowers Tenants In San Francisco, Fights Gentrification
A San Francisco’s Mission District nonprofit, the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA), is leading an anti-gentrification effort, using a "right-to-purchase" policy to fight gentrification. Right-to-purchase policies allow tenants (with the help of MEDA) to purchase their own residential properties when they're put on the market, avoiding the displacement of residents. A policy similar to the right-to-purchase in the Bay Area is currently being considered in other California cities as well as at the statewide level.
The right-to-purchase policy responds to some of the effects of the Ellis Act, which housing advocates blame for causing massive displacement in San Francisco. "Cash-rich coders can buy their share of the building up front. For tenants, the Ellis Act can mean forced displacement; for landlords, it eases the process of selling a residential building," writes Nick Bowlin. Thanks to San Francisco's Community Opportunity to Purchase Act (COPA), local nonprofits are given the opportunity to make an offer on a listed residential building before the building owner sells.
Experts agree that a coronavirus fueled housing crisis is looming. Bowlin says that these and similar tenant-protecting policies are likely to gain traction across California as necessary measures to partially prevent displacement.