Lauren Plummer itemizes how to create #RenterPower
Homes For All Nashville is working to unite tenants around the city who are being displaced from their homes and neighborhoods by development and rising rent. Here are 5 ways renters can take steps to fight displacement:
1. Talk to your neighbors.
If you are experiencing problems with property maintenance or you are struggling to keep up with rising rent, chances are your neighbors are, too. Compare what information the landlord has given to make sure people are all being told the same thing. When we are isolated with our overwhelming problems and worries we feel powerless, but when neighbors realize they share some of the same struggles, they’ve already taken the first step in fighting for their homes.
2. Know your rights.
Sometimes developers buy properties they want to “flip” and let them fall into disrepair, hoping lower income tenants will move out on their own. Sometimes they’ll have property managers punish renters for very small issues, claim that rent hasn’t been paid, or evict people without cause. Homes For All Nashville has been working with the Legal Aid Society to host Know Your Rights trainings, so tenants know what is legal, how to advocate for themselves, and how to hold landlords accountable.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
3. Build power together.
None of us are able to do much on our own, but tenants have strength in numbers. When neighbors get together to address the problems they are experiencing, landlords can’t ignore them as easily. Homes For All Nashville is helping groups of tenants gather and get organized to confront landlords demanding better living conditions, controlled rent increases, and open communication. These groups, called tenant unions, become an ongoing structure that keep landlords accountable to the people who rent from them.
4. Take it to the top.
Sometimes when renters go to the leasing office to report problems, they hit a dead end with middle managers who don’t have the authority or desire to make real changes. We are helping tenants take their issues to the top –– directly to property management companies and property owners. If they still won’t work with tenants to create solutions, Homes For All Nashville helps tenants to raise public awareness through media and legal resources to put pressure on those who hold power to do the right thing. We lift up the human needs of our families and communities over the desire owners have for increased profits.
5. Join the movement.
JOIN THE MOVEMENT
Renters and advocates all over the city are coming together to fight for real change. In the midst of an affordable housing crisis, it’s not enough to win temporary lease extensions or band-aids like blocking bad housing legislation –– we need to be pro-active about creating housing policies that work for us. We are coming together to shape policies that meet the needs of everyday Nashvillians trying to afford their rent and stay in their communities. Renters must direct housing policy rather than be the ones pushed around and pushed out by policies pushed by developers to increase their wealth.
Get plugged in with Homes For All Nashville to add your voice to the rising #RenterNation!
SUPPORT OUR WORK
With the increasing number of calls for organizing support, our small team of volunteer/in-kind organizers are functioning beyond capacity. HomesForAll is in desperate need of a dedicated staff person to aid in on-the-ground organizing and communications. We are so thrilled to be hiring Kennetha Patterson! ...but we need YOUR help reach our fundraising goal!