Have you had trouble with a landlord? Has your landlord been unresponsive or evicted you improperly—even though you have followed your lease agreement? Did they raise your rent suddenly and drastically? You have a new tool in your tool kit to address these problems!
Tenant unions are a relatively new phenomenon where tenants from a particular building, neighborhood, or municipality join together to pool resources and to advocate for their rights. Tenant unions can provide you with the following services:
• Legal advice and support
• Collective bargaining with landlords
• Reporting unsafe conditions or code violations
• Simply a community so you know you are not alone
The idea behind a tenant union is simple. One person complaining to a landlord is easy to ignore. A large, organized group with a list of specific complaints is more likely to be heard and for things to get done.
When you are renting, it is important to know your rights in your area. If you feel that your rights are being violated, there is a decent chance that your city has a tenant union. Contacting them may be a very good first step so they can inform you of your options.
If you do not have a tenant union near you and would like to start one, there are resources online to help you. Like a worker’s union, it is likely illegal in your area for a landlord to retaliate against you for starting or joining a tenant union.
Tenant unions are a great new tool to help you in any problem that may arise between you and your landlord. Please keep them in mind if anything comes up that you do not feel comfortable addressing alone.
Some examples of tenant unions around the country: