FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Some question to answer right away.
What can UVTU do to help me?
The Upper Valley Tenants Union exists to help tenants build tenant associations within their buildings. UVTU acts as a connective body between autonomous tenant associations and tenant unions across the United States. We are not legal professionals, and we are not political lobbyists, but we can help you meet your neighbors, build an organizational framework, and teach you how to make your voices heard. We want to build tenant associations that are able to operate independently.
Can't you talk to legislators about this?
We could, but we chose not to. Tenants are struggling now. We have left it to elected officials for too long with too little that has happened to improve our living conditions. If someone is facing a 20% rent increase, getting evicted in 30 days, or living in hazardous living conditions, there is not time to write a bill, allocate funds, and means-test a solution. There are already a few tenant protections that landlords are already ignoring (Find some of them here). Passing more legislation will not address the root of the problem — the extraction of the wages of the working class for profit.
Does tenant organizing actually work?
Hell yes! There are examples all over the United States of tenants using their collective power to secure fair rents and better living conditions.
At home here in the Upper Valley, the Upper Valley Tenants Union and comrades recently assisted residents of Twin Pines inwith securing more representation on the Twin Pines Board of Trustees, in response to longstanding complaints about living conditions and treatment of residents. Read about it here!
- In New Haven, Connecticut, residents unionized their building to combat raising rent.
- Tenants in Brattleboro, VT successfully fought for a cap on security deposit prices.
- Read success stories from tenants unions in Minnesota, Illinois, and across the country.
Isn't this a problem for the free market to solve?
Hell no! New apartments are going up in the Upper Valley, but they’re unaffordable. Upper Valley employers are hiring new workers and can't find them suitable housing they can afford. The truth is that real estate markets have never guaranteed safe and affordable housing for all - just for the wealthy. Members of the working class have always needed to fight for the right to dignified housing against exploitative landlords and corporate interests that place profits over people.
Housing insecurity and homelessness are guaranteed outcomes in our capitalist system. We support economic freedom and empowerment of tenants, and oppose our current system that is designed to trap tenants in debt. We support the Points of Unity promoted by the Autonomous Tenant's Union Network. To this end, we operate independently of governments and non-profits.
We have to use our collective power to fight back.
Should I unionize my apartment?
Yes! Everyone should have a voice in their living conditions and be able to control what happens in their homes. Everyone should be able to come home and be safe from landlord harassment, rent increases, pests, mold, crappy appliances, and everything that makes living in our current system strenuous and stressful.