NPOs To Get First Crack At Residential Real Estate

Legislation that would put nonprofits at the front of the line to buy multi-family buildings in San Francisco is expected to easily win approval from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

It’s called the Community Opportunity to Purchase Act (COPA). The right of first refusal would be given to nonprofits on multi-family buildings which landlords would have to post as available. The nonprofits would have five days to announce interest and then 25 days to put a deal together which involves the building’s current tenants. The nonprofit has the right to match a higher offer from a private buyer.

The law is intended to be an affordable housing initiative in a city where rents are sky high. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is expected to vote next week with at least 10 of the 11 elected officials announcing support for the plan, as reported by Backyard, a newsletter from the housing nonprofit Next City, based in Philadelphia, Pa.

COPA is similar to the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act in Washington, D.C. Tenants have had the right of first refusal to buy the buildings they live in when their landlords are looking to sell since 1980.

According to the website Rent Café, the average rent for an apartment in San Francisco is $3,609 per month and the average size is just 792 square feet. Some 93 percent of apartment rents in the city exceed $2,000 per month. The Presidio area is the most expensive at an average $4,881 per month and the Treasure Island area is the most affordable at an average $2,616 per month.