"Nationwide, 90 percent of landlords have attorneys, but 90 percent of tenants do not." New York City is combating this inequality with a new law guaranteeing lawyers to defend low-income tenants in housing court. The goal: prevent unjustified evictions and keep people housed.Read More
This is an opinion piece by the paper's staff based on a large series of investigative stories about evictions and substandard housing in Baltimore. It critiques a system that was designed to protect tenants, where they can get a judge to set up an escrow account to collect rent while landlords make repairs, because it usually favors landlords over tenants. The column outlines specific fixes that would address this imbalance, including more code inspections, a more transparent process and laws that hold landlords accountable for substandard properties.Read More
Resources to prevent evictions in Baltimore continue to decline, even while other cities are allotting more resources to keeping people in their homes. This article explores the many problems facing Baltimore tenants trying to avoid eviction and juxtaposes those examples with those of other cities such as New York, which is actually expanding funding for attorneys to represent tenants because avoiding evictions saves money. Many organizations in Baltimore say people often need help just once to avert a crisis, but the funds available to help continue to dwindle.Read More
Nashville is trying out creative ways to help residents deal with rising rent. While state policies do not always favor rent control and mixed-income housing units are still years away, several solutions are being implemented right now. Neighborhoods are creating tenant unions and community benefit agreements to ensure that tenants stay up-to-date about housing information. The mayor’s office is also providing financial support to first-time homebuyers.Read More
In Seattle and around the country, mobile home residents are taking ownership of their communities by buying the land their homes are on and transforming the system. Rather than pay rent on the land, which is at risk from local property developers, the residents pay monthly dues to the community-led association that now owns the land. This system empowers locals and helps them stay put in areas with rising home costs.Read More
Renting Partnerships organizes affordable housing communities that stay affordable. By meeting the expectations of the community, such as paying rent on time, residents can earn and cash out financial equity after staying in their home for five years. The program uses creative financing in the hopes of making housing more equitable.Read More
While Seattle’s City Council has taken steps to protect renters from rising costs and exploitative landlords, many tenants do not understand their rights. In order to address this disconnect, advocacy groups have organized “tenant rights boot camps” to educate renters about their rights and avenues of recourse under the law.Read More
These tiny Scottish communities are taking control of their own The inhabitants of Eigg island in Scotland, raised $1.97 million dollars to buy the island they live on. Prior to that, the island had been privately owned by an absentee landlord and had fallen into demise. A pattern seen across Scotland which has the “highest concentration of private land ownership in the developed world.” However, “more than 560,000 acres of Scotland now rest in community ownership, with the government aiming to increase that figure to 1 million acres by 2020.”Read More
In Oakland, a community land trust helped Hasta Muerte, a local cafe, avoid eviction. All over the country, community land trusts are helping communities of color keep their affordable housing.Read More
In Washington D.C., the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase act, gives tenants the right to be the first in line to buy the building they live in, if it goes up for sale. The city, also has a trust fund that finances affordable housing, and provides funds for people looking to purchase a building and create a co-op. Together, these things make it easier for tenants to access affordable housing, and fight gentrification. So, far the city has 137 co-ops. "Now we get to choose our neighbors, we get to set our own rules, and we’re in control of our living conditions.”Read More
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