This past Saturday, March 10, members of Action NC who live in the Woodward Village mobile home community celebrated a big victory in their fight for justice! Close to 30 people marched for the second time against their landlord and they won!
At the beginning of February, Woodward residents held their first march, where over 40 people walked in the rain to denounce abuses against tenants by the property manager. Some of the complaints include:
1) High water bills
2) Property management will not accept rent unless it paid together with the water bill. This has forced many to incur late penalties on their rent payments
3) A lack of written leases with clearly defined standards
4) Mortgage agreements are combined with rental leases into one document.
5) A need for more lighting in the community
6) A property manager that threatens to call immigration officials, when immigrant tenants make inquiries or ask for better service.
7) Need for bilingual staff in the office
8) Property management that is never in the office during office hours
9) The roads in the community need fixing, costing many high car repair bills.
For the first march, residents walked in the rain with buckets saying that their water bills are so high they needed to collect rain water to bathe. When we got to the office, residents paid their rent and not their water bills, to show that they knew that the NC General Statutes do not support the landlord's obligating tenants to pay them together.
This past Saturday, residents paid their water bill one week after paying rent, in order to really get across the idea that they had the right to pay the water bill separately from the rent. Our Action NC members marched and the property manager agreed to stop obligating people to pay their water bill together with the rent! She also agreed to put it in writing!
Now we just need to resolve the other issues. The property manager also agreed to put together a meeting between her regional manager and the tenants, at the beginning of April, in order to resolve the remaining issues.
Keep an eye out for these Action NC members. They and others are starting a movement in Charlotte and the rest of North Carolina. Together, Action NC member tenants are showing landlords everywhere that they will not stand for landlord abuses.
Within the next few months, these tenants and others will have officially started created a citywide tenants' rights chapter!
To quote their chant from the first march, "the rights of the few are the rights of the many!"