The Alhambra Tenants Union (ATU) hosted a block meeting at Alhambra Park with renters in the city on Saturday on November 6. They shared plates full of delicious pizza, discussed their rights as tenants, shared their experiences, encouraged unionization, and promoted new laws to protect tenants in the city.
By Brandon Tran
They discussed issues that they faced with renting in the city of Alhambra, problems with landlords, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. ATU (Alhambra Tenants Union) presented a “sword and shield” approach to fighting for tenants in the city.
The “shield” represents protections that they have from the law, such as just-cause eviction requirements and rent control for some buildings as provided by AB 1482 and the ability for tenants to apply for rental relief until March 2022. The union advocates expanding the shield on the city-level, calling on tenants to pledge to back City Council members that commit to increasing protections for renters, including strengthening rent control and just-cause eviction protections beyond the state’s requirements and requiring landlords to notify and post the rights tenants have. You can sign it here.
In addition, the model also includes a “sword.” This symbolizes the ways in which tenants can actively resist exploitation from landlords by documenting all communication with the landlord and unionizing their own building. In doing so, neighbors can preserve evidence of potential abuse from landlords, share common issues they may be experiencing, and demand restitution by threatening to collectively withhold rent payments as leverage. To accomplish this, the union suggests renters speak with others living in the same building and develop personal relationships that could form the framework for a union.
If you are interested in aiding the union or are a tenant and have issues with your own residency, you can contact the ATU at email@example.com. As mentioned earlier, you can also sign their campaign pledge to reserve your support for City Council candidates that support tenants’ rights here.
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