The Tenant Power Toolkit is a collaborative effort between the The Debt Collective, The LA Tenants Union, The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality & Democracy, ACCE Action, anti-eviction lawyers and legal service providers including Gary Blasi, one of California’s best known housing justice lawyers. We designed this toolkit to keep people in their homes, fight evictions, fight rent debt, and build the collective power of tenants. Together, we have the power not only to fight back against the system, but to change it.
Within the Tenant Power Toolkit project there is a core support team of Debt Collective organizers, technologists and anti-eviction lawyers. It is this small team who will have access to your information in order to file your legal paperwork and support you through the process.
Why did we build this tool?
Helping each of us fight eviction and debt as individuals in the court system is crucial. But that is only the first part of what we can do together. Filing an answer to Unlawful Detainer or responding to a small claims lawsuit helps us respond to the system, but how can we change an unfair system? How can we change a system that evicts tenants who cannot file complicated legal papers within 5 days, but gives landlords online tools to evict from home? How can we change a system that allows landlords to ruin our credit over missed rent? With consent, we also want to connect users to tenant organizing across California, and eventually, connect users to others in their situation - neighbors; those who share landlords; those on rent strike. Why? Because if I am facing eviction or debt alone, my landlord has power over me. But if I am facing eviction or debt with everyone in my building, or everyone in all the other buildings my landlord owns, then we have the power to negotiate and make demands on both landlords and our government: End Evictions! Cancel Rent! Lower Rent! End Debt! Make repairs! Tenants unions build collective power over both landlords and government. To find a local tenants union near you, go here.
Finally, in addition to connecting tenants to tenants unions, to other tenant organizations, and to each other, the tool has the potential to generate important information on evictions and rental debt, with user consent. What we learn from this tool can inform collective action campaigns and public policy based on facts: Which landlords are evicting during a pandemic? Who claims they are owed the most money? Which corporations are taking over our neighborhoods and driving rent prices up? Which neighborhoods are becoming eviction hot spots? Who is evicting people based on prejudice or discrimination?
We’re so happy you’ve found us. Alone we are vulnerable. But together we are powerful.