How to Empower Renters
It's easy to feel invisible as a renter, argues Rachel Quednau in a piece for Strong Towns. "I rarely receive notices about neighborhood meetings and when I do, they have almost always already occurred by the time I get the letter. In short, I feel disregarded and ignored as a tenant," Quednau writes.
Because of these issues, renters generally are less represented in local government. "in every Seattle district council (a form of local government), no more than 40% of the councilors representing any district were renters, and for many of the councils, the amount of councilors who rent was less than 10%. This is in spite of the fact that the Seattle population is over 50% renters. Failing to represent renter can also mean cutting out the demographics that typically rent (young people, people of color, etc.)," Quednau reports.
All of this is not to say it's impossible to make your voice heard, and Quednau offers some suggestions from her own experience and advice shared by community activists. Her main tips are these, with more detail in the article:
- Get to know your neighbors.
- Find out when neighborhood meetings are and show up.
- Work through your landlord.