San Jose City Council Votes to Reject COPA


Last night, the San Jose City Council rejected COPA with a 9:2 vote, after more than 5 hours of public input and heated deliberation. San Jose will no longer pursue COPA as one of its preservation strategies. 

This is a huge win for rental property owners in San Jose, but also important for the East Bay, as several cities are considering similar laws (TOPA). Stopping the momentum of COPA in San Jose will hopefully slow down those cities.

What is COPA?

Click HERE to read an article from Opportunity Now that discusses COPA, the history of similar programs in other cities, and its unintended consequences.

City Council Meeting

After years of deliberation and analysis, hundreds of public comments and heated jabs hurled between San Jose Councilmembers, the controversial housing preservation proposal is dead.

The discussion at the council meeting was extensive—lasting more than five hours. Those who spoke in opposition said the policy would give too much power to nonprofits and affect a property owner’s ability to market their home.

The San Jose City Council voted 9-2 to reject the Community Opportunity to Purchase Act, or COPA, which would’ve given qualified nonprofits the ability to make the first offer on multi-family residential properties in San Jose to maintain affordable rents. Councilmembers Sergio Jimenez and Omar Torres voted no.

The council will instead explore how San Jose could create or support an entity to help organizations secure grants and other funding to build, acquire or rehabilitate low-income units — helping preserve affordable housing and prevent displacement. The alternative idea was introduced by Vice Mayor Rosemary Kamei. The city will also create an affordable housing preservation work plan.

Thank you to those of you who attended the council meeting in-person and on zoom. Your action definitely made a difference. 

All of us owe a special thank you to the leaders for their comments last night, please write a thank you note to these San Jose city leaders: 

Mayor Matt Mahan:

Vice Mayor Rosemary Kamei (D1):

Councilmember Dev Davis (D6):

Councilmember Bien Doan(D7):

Councilmember Pam Foley (D9):

Councilmember Arjun Batra (D10):