UNION ON THOMPSON MANAGER REFUSES TO RENEW LEASES FOR LATINA TENANTS WHEN THEY ASK FOR REPAIRS
From Union on Thompson Tenants - Inquilinos Unidos:
After months of dealing with unresolved maintenance issues ranging from backed up drains and appliances not working to significant mold and broken A/C units, Latina tenants at Union on Thompson apartments came together to write a letter to their management company, Elmington Properties. In addition to maintenance issues, we had not been given access to our leases in Spanish, meaning that many of us were obligated to sign contracts that we could not read (see Contributor article HERE).
In July of 2017, we held a meeting with Elmington Management outlining our concerns and requesting maintenance improvements, better security and access to bilingual lease contracts. Elmington responded by addressing many of the maintenance concerns, replacing management staff and promising to provide leases in Spanish.
Fast forward to February 2018. Significant maintenance issues continue to be left unaddressed and when we have brought maintenance issues to the attention of management, many of us have been served notices of non-renewal with no reason given by management. We have organized are are holding management accountable for their treatment of tenants.
Below is a transcription of audio recorded on February 6th, 2018. This interaction occurred after two of us came to the office with specific maintenance requests. We were polite and were merely asking about basic repairs. After outlining some of these concerns to the secretary (who is bilingual) the manager responded:
Manager: “I’m going to make this really easy. We have a list of all the problems they’ve had? Ok. I’m going to make this easy. If we cant make them happy, they can move out at any time.
Tenant (translated via secretary): You’re kicking us out?
Manager: I said, if I can’t make them happy, they can move.
Tenants (translated via secretary): But at this point my contract has not ended.Manager: I understand that, but if we can’t make you happy then...
Tenants: “[But we have not violated the lease contract.]”
Manager: Stop stop stop. Un momento! I’m gonna say it one more time. If we cant make them happy, They. Can. Move. A laundry list of problems is not acceptable. We’ll take care of your problems. And again, i’m going to answer your question. I have the right not to renew you... and i’m going to give you notice right now, we are not renewing you. Give them the notice [manager walks away]... They can leave or be removed”
Tenants (translated via secretary): We have not done anything bad or illegal, so why?
Manager: Because I am requesting that they leave my office. We will take care of their problems then they’ll receive a 60 day notice to leave.
This is just one example of many similar interactions where Spanish-speaking tenants have been treated in a disrespectful and dehumanizing manner. As of today, Feb. 13th, we have been told we will not be renewed and have yet to receive any response to our maintenance requests. All that we are asking is the right to live in a safe, maintained home without fear of retaliation when we bring concerns to management. We are rent-paying customers and we deserve livable conditions and to be treated with basic respect.
Tenants of Union on Thompson, Inquilinos Unidos
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