In order to protect Malden against "Slum Landlords" - those prove "by their track record" to be lax in maintenance of proprieties - it is time for the councillors to pay attention to the needs of citizens and to take action needed to protect their safety and quality of life. They should become aware and pay attention to the situations in their wards and citywide.
I ask John Matheson Ward #3 Councillor and Jim Nestor Ward #4 to become aware of what is happening in their wards and support the efforts of the tenants in their areas to organize against increasing rent.
A tenant association (or tenant organization) may be made up oftenants who live in a certain building or development, or membership may be on a larger scale -- i.e. renters in a city who belong to acounty or citywide local tenants' association. These groups are formed and maintained with a number of goals in mind, including:
- Informing tenants of their rights under local, state, and federal law.
- Organizing and lobbying on behalf of tenants and tenants' rights,especially at city and county levels of government.Improving tenant-landlord relationships, building conditions
- Securing services for tenants under a "strength in numbers" model.
- Encouraging regular communication and community awareness among tenants.
Tenant Associations: The Right to Organize
Tenant associations usually hold periodic meetings in order to encourage active tenant participation and to promote tenants' awareness of the association's role and available services. Just as most employers are prohibited from discriminating or retaliating against employees who have joined a labor union, federal and state fair housing laws dictate that landlords cannot take any negative action based solely on a tenants' participation or membership in a tenant association or similar organization.
Examples of prohibited landlord conduct include arbitrary rent increases, refusal to make necessary repairs and threats of eviction.
In addition, a landlord may not prevent a tenant association from meeting in a common area on the building's premises if other groups are allowed to do so, as long as the circumstances of the meeting (i.e. time, place, noise level) are reasonable.
If you are a tenant in a large residential building or development, or if you rent your home in a mid- to large-size city, you may have the opportunity to get involved in a tenant association or organization.
To find out more, contact your city's housing department.
SUPPORT THE MALDEN/MEDORD TENANTS UNITED: firstname.lastname@example.org
Readers: What do you think about tenant organizing?