Make connections with your neighbours. Whether we are experiencing a public health crisis or not, the first step of tenant organizing is always talking to your neighbours. The best way to protect yourself and your neighbours against retaliation from your landlord in the future is to form a tenants committee as soon as possible.
Set up a group communication channel. This can be an email thread, group text, WhatsApp group, Facebook group, or whatever tenants are most comfortable with. Remember that not everyone may have a cell phone, access to the internet, or be on social media. Experiment and find out what platform works best for people. If the group is multilingual, commit to translating the most important points for monolingual speakers. If no one is able to translate, you can use Google Translate for quick translation.
If time allows, try to schedule a meeting to discuss the issues as a group and decide on next steps. Tenants can meet maintaining 6 feet distance, or through Zoom, Google Hangouts or a conference call. Make sure to check in with the other tenants to make sure you choose a medium that they are comfortable with. Remind everyone the day before and the day of the meeting. You want as many tenants as possible to be involved.
As a tenant committee, prepare for the landlord’s response. Your building committee should be prepared to respond if your landlord tries to retaliate against tenants. Herongate Tenant Coalition is here to take action alongside tenants against landlord retaliation and to help with organizing support. Keep in touch!