Renter advocates call for reforms in Detroit
Community organizations supporting the rights of tenants want renters facing housing issues across the city to know they are not alone.
Driving the news: Renters, who make up the majority of households in Detroit, gathered at Spirit Plaza on Sunday to learn how to fight back against predatory landlords.
- Speakers at the orientation called on Detroiters to organize within their housing communities to shift the power balance from owner to organizers.
What's happening: Wealthy investors pool capital to gobble up resources, Evan Villeneuve of Detroit Right to Counsel coalition, tells Axios.
- "They're able to purchase properties above what the market rate is then pass the buck on to the renter by doubling your rent."
What they're saying: "We need to organize people house by house, block by block," says Lewis Bass, who serves as the Tenants Association secretary.
- "Every day is a new uphill battle going through these situations," says Jai Kaiser, who's temporary living situation in a Southfield hotel as part of the city's "hoteling" program will become unclear next month.
What we're watching: Funding is still needed to secure legal representation for Detroiters facing eviction, Villeneuve tells Axios.
- The city is mandated by Oct. 1 to set up an office for eviction defense. "As of now, that office has not been set up. We need (Mayor Mike Duggan) to act with a sense of urgency and we're not seeing that," Villeneuve says.
- Villeneuve says he also hopes to see some form of rent control for the city, which has been prohibited by state law since 1988.
- Recent legislative efforts to repeal the law have been unsuccessful.
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