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Home > Blog > General > Tenant Owned Buildings Are Getting Closer to Becoming Reality in New York City

Tenant Owned Buildings Are Getting Closer to Becoming Reality in New York City


The prohibitively high cost of housing in New York is so well known that it has become proverbial.  The only difference is that now the rest of the country is starting to feel New York’s pain.  It has been the case for as long as anyone can remember that only rich people can afford real estate in New York City, even if it is only a small apartment in a condominium building.  Unless you were born into money or recently struck it rich, you are fighting with everyone else to rent the same prohibitively expensive apartments, and once you move into one, only half of the appliances and amenities are functional, and rent increases happen more frequently and predictably than repairs.  What if tenants could be in charge of their own apartment buildings?  It sounds like utopian wishful thinking, but sometimes it happens; it even occasionally happens here in New York City.  Unfortunately, the path to tenant ownership of residential buildings requires a long and complicated legal process, but a proposed piece of legislation aims to make it easier for tenants to buy residential buildings from their landlords.  To find out more about how you and your neighbors in a New York City apartment building can become your own landlords, contact a Bronx real estate attorney.

Provisions of the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act

Several cities where housing prices are among the most expensive in the country have passed laws that enable tenants to buy residential buildings from their landlords instead of the landlords selling the buildings to another company.  The first such law went into effect in Washington, D.C. in 1980.  Five years ago, San Francisco enacted the Community Opportunity to Purchase Act.  As of 2024, New York State legislators are considering a bill known as the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA).  TOPA would give tenants an opportunity to buy their residential building when the landlord lists it for sale before the landlord begins accepting offers from other prospective buyers.  Once the purchase is complete, the new owners may turn the property into a condominium building and continue occupying their apartments or they may choose a new landlord to whom to assign the building.

The obvious question is how tenants, who on their own cannot afford to buy individual residential units can jointly buy an entire New York City apartment building.  The proposed law would set aside funding to assist tenants in the purchase of their buildings.  Although the law is not yet in effect, several purchases of residential buildings by tenants are currently in progress, including here in the Bronx.  These purchases have come after long legal battles over landlords failing to maintain the rental properties in livable conditions.

Schedule a Confidential Consultation With a Bronx Real Estate Attorney

A real estate lawyer can help you make wise decisions about buying your apartment building from your landlord.  Contact Cavallo & Cavallo in the Bronx, New York to set up a consultation.




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