Support Our Work

The Tenants Union builds power in the movement for tenants’ rights and housing justice.

Membership with the Tenants Union is FREE and members are defined as people who:

Share the Tenants Union’s values and vision for housing justice according to our Principles of Unity; Plan to contribute time, money and/or expertise to the work of the Tenants Union; and Would like to identify as a member.

Sign up today!

Join the Tenants Union if:
  1. You believe that every renter deserves safe, affordable housing free from discrimination, retaliation and eviction threats. Members are people who share the Tenants Union’s values and vision for housing justice and are willing to make an annual donation to support the work.
  2. You got help through the Tenants Union’s Education Program or website. The TU is a small but extraordinarily powerful organization that provides Education Program services to over 1,400 Washington State renters a year. We’re able to offer these services for free across the state because of the financial support of tenants like you.

  3. You have benefited from the Just Cause Eviction Ordinance or another law. Most of the tenant protections in Seattle and statewide exist because Tenants Union members, renters just like you, fought for them. The TU has a strong track record of victories for housing justice through empowerment-based education, outreach, leadership development, organizing, and legislative advocacy. Read about them at TU Victories and TU History.

  4. You are a renter in Washington State and you want stronger rights and protections for tenants. You may have had problems getting repairs done, getting your deposits back or being given 20 days’ notice to vacate. If you have ever had a housing problem, you know that laws in Washington State are not strong enough to offer tenants the protections they both need and deserve. Every TU member builds the strength of the organization and continues this crucial work to win concrete improvements for renters.

  5. You want to stay connected to and get involved in the movement for tenants’ rights. The TU’s regular newsletter, Tenant Solidarity, informs our membership about emerging issues for renters, organizing campaigns, and upcoming events. Members also have the opportunity to get more involved with work for housing justice.

  6. You want to take a stand for social, racial and economic justice. Tenants Union members are people who believe in the power of grassroots organizing and are willing share what they have to help create a more just, equitable society.

What is Housing Justice?

It’s about Fair Treatment

  • Over one third of Washington State residents are renters. Seattle is home to over 500,000 tenants.
  • There are no mechanisms for the enforcement of landlord-tenant laws, and landlords are not licensed or regulated in any way. Landlord-tenant laws in Washington State are considered “self-help.”
  • Tenants who assert their rights often face retaliation in the form of eviction. Landlord-tenant laws are outdated, difficult to understand, and weighted towards landlords.

It’s about Racial & Economic Justice

  • Renters are far more likely to be people with low incomes. The median net wealth of a middle aged homeowner is $219,600, while the median net wealth of a middle aged tenant is $6,590.
  • People of color and immigrants are disproportionately represented among low income tenants. The Seattle Office of Civil Rights found that over half of Seattle landlords illegally discriminate. Testing confirmed that African Americans and people with disabilities face frequent rental housing discrimination in Seattle. It is currently legal for landlords outside of Seattle to discriminate against people who receive housing subsidies to make their rent affordable. Many landlords categorically say “No Section 8.”
  • Slumlords take advantage of tenants with limited English proficiency by refusing to make necessary repairs or retaliating against tenants who assert their rights. Without access to laws or information in their native languages, immigrant and ethnic communities remain vulnerable to substandard conditions and housing loss.

It’s about Equal Access

  • Renters who have been evicted illegally, who are evicted because of domestic violence, or who win in eviction court still have evictions listed on their permanent records and are discriminated against by landlords in the screening process.
  • There are 50,000 very low income renter households in Seattle and only 16,000 units subsidized for very low income renters.

It’s about Dignity

  • Outside Seattle, month-to-month tenants can be evicted from their homes with only 20 days’ notice, regardless of how long they have lived in the unit, what time of year it is, or the renter’s status as an elder, a person with disabilities, or a family with small children.
TU Victories

The TU has won significant victories for tenants’ rights in the last 35 years. Below is a partial list of victories TU tenant leaders and members have won. See TU History for a more comprehensive list of Tenants Union work through the last 35 years.

Legislative Advocacy
Affordable Housing Preservation
Tenant Ownership
  • Organized the first tenant-controlled low-income rental housing in the Northwest, the Benson East Duplexes in Kent
Civil Rights & Fair Housing
  • Organized with tenants at Avalon Ridge to bring a precedent-setting civil rights lawsuit to protect single mothers of color on Section 8 vouchers from eviction
Federal Policy Reform
  • Mobilized to win federal legislation protecting tenants’ right to organize in subsidized housing and to protect funding for housing programs
  • Leaders from the Downtowner Tenants Association set national precedent for tenants in buildings undergoing subsidy loss
Accountability for Local Policymakers
  • Reform of an illegal and unfair grievance hearing process for Section 8 voucher tenants at Seattle Housing Authority in STOP’s SHA Grievance Hearing Campaign
Tenant Education
  • The Tenants Union provides resources, education and advocacy to thousands of tenants every year to know and use our rights through through the Education Program