As the Bay Area grasps for new ways to quell its affordable housing shortage, several cities are considering controversial policies that would give some tenants a shot at buying their homes — a move that’s sharply dividing property owners and renters.
To prevent big-pocketed investors from scooping up homes, raising rents and forcing tenants out, East Palo Alto, San Jose, Oakland and Berkeley are eyeing ordinances that would give renters, nonprofits or the city first dibs on some sales.
Known as opportunity to purchase acts, the ordinances have been heralded by tenant rights advocates as a way to give renters a leg up in the overheated housing market. But the idea faces strong opposition from some landlords and real estate groups who argue they represent an unconscionable interference in the rights of property owners.
“It’s going to be a battle,” said Sandy Perry, a board member of the South Bay Community Land Trust, which seeks to buy…