New Jersey Tenants Organization - www.njto.org -- Phone (201) 342-3775 firstname.lastname@example.org
How to Do Tenant Organizing:
1. Contact your fellow tenants. If you do not know people in your building, you can leave a flyer under their doors with a phone number or, better yet, knock on their doors and introduce yourself. See if they have the same concerns that you do. You want to get an accurate idea how much interest there is among your fellow tenants in starting an organization.
2. Have the most interested and committed tenants form a steering committee. These people can meet quickly for fast decision making. Keep others informed by word of mouth or newsletter. (A newsletter can be a one page letter addressed to those who cannot make meetings but are supportive. This letter can also be used to recruit those who have not yet joined.)
3. Call a meeting of all tenants in the building. Discuss problems that need to be addressed by the landlord. Explain to everyone that you have a legal right to organize. Pledge to support any member threatened by the landlord.
4. Make lists of tenants' complaints. After the meeting, send a letter to the landlord requesting that these problems--repairs etc. are done. Always communicate with landlords by Certified Mail - Return Receipt Requested. Any conversations on the phone or elsewhere should be confirmed by letter to the landlord also sent by Certified Mail.
5. Be sure to get and keep a list of all the tenants' phone numbers and/or emails. This is especially useful for emergency meetings and actions.
6. If the landlord refuses to make repairs after you have sent a letter requesting repairs, contact NJTO for advice on what to do.
These are just general organizing guidelines. If you would like our help in organizing an NJTO-affiliated tenants' association, just call our office and ask for help. Isolated tenant associations are fine, but they do not build the tenant movement. By affiliating with the NJTO, you strengthen our advocacy on the State and Federal levels, and strengthen your own advocacy on the local level. Each member of your local affiliated group is also a member of the NJTO, with full benefits, at a much lower group dues rate.