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How Might The Landlord React?
As you begin to organize, you should be prepared for how the landlord might react. It is also very important to give your fellow tenants a picture of what to expect, so that when it happens they don’t get scared off.
Landlords, like those in power generally, are often surprised when those who “live under their thumb” start to organize for their interests. If this has never happened before they may do one of many things. These include:
- threatening to evict people,
- playing on differences between people to keep them divided,
- interfering with or not allowing tenant meetings,
- giving organizers special treatment in order to buy them out,
- threatening to sell the building,
- and many other possibly horrible things.
Tenants successfully defend themselves against these things (most of which are completely illegal) all the time – usually by standing together and being prepared. Some things tenants have done include copying the “Right to Organize” policy from HUD and posting it around the building, and using demonstrations or other direct actions. They also get other organizations in the community to put pressure on the owner. Getting the media to cover the story doesn’t hurt either.