CAT is a tenant membership organization.  Low-income tenants – predominately low-wage workers, families with children, people living with disabilities, seniors, and people of color – are CAT’s primary membership base.  CAT is building a strong housing justice movement that is led and directed by those who are most impacted by Oregon’s affordable housing crisis – low-income renters.

Questions About Tenants Rights?

Learn about your Rights Call the Renters’ Rights Hotline: (503) 288-0130
#TenantTipTuesday: Organize Your Building

Building-wide evictions, lack of repairs, and safety concerns can easily become an issue for an entire complex full of renters. Organizing your building is a challenge worth taking on if you think you can bargain collectively for better treatment and conditions from management.

Organizing your building or complex can seem daunting, but if you can achieve solidarity with your fellow renters you will be more powerful in the long-run.

Know Your Neighbors

Talk to your neighbors as you see them by the mailbox, in the hallway, or by knocking on doors. Ask them if they have similar experiences to you in terms of getting repairs, being treated a certain way by management, experiencing similar rent hikes, or other situations. If the building’s front door lock is broken, for example, and a neighbor was mugged, and you’ve noticed something similar, this is the place to share those stories and organize the building in response.

 

Ask your neighbors if they believe the conditions in the building need to be improved and find out if they are interested in meeting in a group to discuss what can be done. Get consensus for meeting times and locations, and move on from there.

Meetings

Post announcements for your meetings in common areas like recycling rooms, laundry rooms, elevators, staircases, and other common areas that are highly visible. Some flyers may be taken down, removed, or disappear. Prepare to replace flyers and remember to distribute them to each unit by slipping under doors or dropping them into mailboxes. You have the right to meet and organize.

 

Learn how tenants have resolved complaints in the past and learn what has or hasn’t been effective. At this meetings, it is important to prioritize tenant-wide issues instead of getting lost in individual issues. Ask residents to sign-in, introduce themselves, and take minutes.

Vote

 

Learn from each other and from your needs. Is the building facing issues that could be best addressed collectively? Do you feel comfortable moving forward? Take a vote on whether to form an official tenant’s association.

 

By creating something you agree upon, you can formalize a structure with election of officers. delegation of responsibilities, record-keeping, and creation of bylaws.

 

This is a great opportunity to meet your neighbors, organize for your rights, and set a standard for what your building wants. We welcome building-wise organizing questions at the Community Alliance of Tenants and offer regular free workshops and membership meetings. Reach out today!

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