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MOBILIZATION Powered By Docstoc


TENAC reminds all who live in rental housing that 2005 is a
landmark year for tenants in the District of Columbia. First and
foremost is the need to reform the rent control law and support
affordable housing in the District. We strongly believe that
effective rent control is the royal road to affordable housing.

We applaud Council action taken on May 3rd in support of rent
control, and the remedial action taken on the infamous 95/5 scam,
denying tenants their right to buy their apartment buildings when
they are sold. Neither action goes far enough, however, and we
intend to pursue further refinements to 95/5 and vigorous rent
control reform.

We anticipate a battle royal with landlords, their lobbyists, and
their allies, the realtors and developers, however who will do
all in their power to impede affordable housing and further
weaken District rent control The reasons for that are simple.
They can be spelled out in two words --GREED and MONEY. Flush
with windfall profits, D.C landlords are riding high in the
saddle. They are doing so, moreover, with the encouragement, if
not active collusion of Mayor Anthony Williams, and the
oftentimes inadequate support for tenant issues by the Council.

Abuses and violations of the rent control law are such, moreover,
that renewal without serious reform of the rent control law to
close egregious loopholes will mean little over the long run.
Entry-level rent, rent increases, and rent ceilings have spiraled
out of control. Evictions have reached new highs. Senior
citizens, disabled, and those on fixed or limited income have
experienced particular hardship. Tenant associations have been
harassed and pushed around. As a consequence, affordable housing
in the District of Columbia, as in so many other jurisdictions in
the country, with or without rent control, has become almost
nonexistent. The rental housing reality we all face is crystal

o Entry-level rents that have doubled in the span of a few years
is not rent control!
o Annual rent increases of hundreds of dollars is not rent

o Rent “ceilings” that have doubled, tripled, quintupled or more
is not rent control!

TENAC has been working long and hard to correct these serious
rental housing problems. Remedies do exist. They include bills
which would amend rent control to eliminate the outrageous rent
ceilings abuse, provide timely notice and information on rent
increase time-tables and computations, correct capital
improvement inequities, and most important of all, make rent
control a rational and meaningful system for long-time
established tenants and new tenants alike.

TENAC has an arsenal of services on behalf of tenants. These
include: an outstanding record of protecting tenant rights,
constant lobbying to save rent control, operating a tenant hot
line, which has answered thousands of landlord-tenant questions,
forming tenant associations all across the city, maintaining a
website, and sponsoring and testifying on legislation. TENAC has
greatly expanded its outreach, advocacy, and vigorous fight for
the rights of tenants, through all of these services and through
vigorous support of landmark legislation to protect tenant
association organization spearheaded by long-time tenant leader
Jonathan Strong.

We are also pleased to announce that we have engaged the services
of a new public service law firm, the People’s Law resource
Center (PLRC), under the excellent leadership of Zachary Jay
Wolfe. Mr. Wolfe has filed two recent lawsuits, one in the D.C.
Superior Court, and one in the U.S. District Court for the
District of Columbia. TENAC separately retained PLRC to bring
action against the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.
In doing so, TENAC joined the lead plaintiffs in this litigation,
the New Capital Park Tenants Association, under the outstanding
leadership of Kevin Fitzgerald.

The first lawsuit dealt with the so-called “95/5” fraud, which
illegally denied tenants the right to buy their buildings when
they are sold. The 95/5 scam was the subject of extensive
oversight hearings before the Council’s Committee on Consumer and
Regulatory Affairs on regulatory activities by DCRA. Testimony
before that Committee by officials of DCRA has revealed an almost
unbelievable pattern of incompetence, gross negligence, collusion
with landlords and real estate interests, and grave violation of
rental housing rules and regulations. All of this suggests an
agency in virtual meltdown. Testimony was provided on two
different occasions in February and March by TENAC panels in
support of DCRA reform in general and 95/5 repeal in particular.

TENAC also strongly supports a second tenants lawsuit brought by
Mr. Wolfe, against DCRA. In this suit, ten housing code
inspectors have sued their parent agency, DCRA, charging
discrimination, mismanagement, and retaliation for filing their
complaint. We are fortunate to have the services of PLRC and
Zachary Wolfe, and we are delighted with the availability of a
public service law firm interested in and willing to take on the
great cause of affordable housing, tenant rights, and rent
control. Access to quality, affordable legal assistance in
landlord-tenant matters has been one of our greatest needs. We
strongly urge all that can do so to make a financial contribution
to PLRC. It is one of the best investments tenants can make. They
are at:

               People’s Law Resource Center (PLRC)

                  1725 I Street, NW, Suite 300

                      Washington, DC 20006

                         (202) 265-5965

Looking ahead, the tenants movement needs many things in 2005 in
order to effectively plan and carry out a successful campaign to
renew and strengthen rent control. We need lots of help. First
and foremost, we need volunteers to get the rent control message
out and to strengthen our organizational outreach.

Finally, as always, we need financial support. Year in and year
out, TENAC works long and hard for rent control, affordable
housing, tenant rights, and tenant safety, and we do all this on
a miniscule budget. Still we have lots of expenses. We run a
telephone HOTLINE (628-3699), a Post Office Box Mailing site (PO
Box 7237--Washington, DC 20044), and a website, (
All these things cost money and lots of it.

TENAC needs an office. We have been around for almost 20 years,
and we still cannot afford one. If any of you can help provide us
one, we would be most grateful. In the epic battle to save rent
control and protect tenant rights, the landlords have unlimited
resources, and are not a bit ashamed to spend millions of dollars
to defeat rent control. Still we are expected to preserve,
improve, and renew it all the while operating on a shoe-string
financially. Tenants need to wake up, get over their huge apathy,
and financially support their own vital interests. We are talking
about the roof over your heads, and the people who fight day in
and day out to save it. We are talking about tenant rights,
tenant protection, and affordable housing for two-thirds of the
District’s population. We are talking about waging an effective
“Save D.C. Rent Control and Affordable Housing Mobilization.” We
have received strong endorsement and encouragement for holding
that mobilization this fall. Expressions of interest have come
from as far away as the United Farm Workers in Los Angeles and
subsidized rental housing organizations in Boston.


                       TENAC MOBILIZATION



We need to expand our budget and reserves ten-fold. We are asking
every tenant in the city to contribute. Your tenant association
needs to pass the hat for TENAC. If we got but a modest
contribution from each tenant in the city, we could fulfill our
goal. We are asking for one dollar from every tenant. If you
spread the word in your building, that would help greatly. Those
of you who can afford more, please do so. We are going all out in
2005 to strengthen rent control, reform rent control, and to
guarantee affordable housing to all who seek it. With your help,
we can and will do it.

                     Long Live Rent Control!

                  Long Live Affordable Housing!

                    Long Live Tenant Rights!