- Empowers mobile home park residents to establish and operate tenant associations and to negotiate with their landlords for improvements to their housing conditions
Several states and cities have passed laws that protect tenant organizing and outreach activities at mobile home parks and apartment complexes, supporting residents’ ability to form tenant associations, advocate collectively for improvements to their property, and participate in acquisition opportunities. In Texas, mobile home park residents have the right to meet on a mobile home community property without interference from their landlord but otherwise do not have the right to participate in outreach activities at the property, such as door-to-door canvassing to form a residents association or discuss issues at the property. Invited tenant organizers also do not have the right to support residents on the property in organizing activities and face arrest for participating in such activities.
Texas cities can play a key role in supporting tenants through the adoption of an ordinance protecting tenant organizing. In drafting a model ordinance, it is useful to think about the two populations who need protections: (1) tenants and (2) tenant organizers (that is, nonprofit staff and volunteers who are not tenants but work to support tenants in the creation and operation of tenants’ associations). Successful tenant organizing would not be possible without also protecting the work of this latter group—tenant organizers—who provide tenants with the critical outreach support, leadership training, and other support needed to launch and operate a new association. Tenant organizers are especially critical in the early stages of forming a tenant association, when tenants are usually too afraid to participate by themselves in any organizing activities on the property.
Model OrdinanceHere is a model tenant organizing ordinance for Texas cities, which builds off national best practices and covers tenants living in mobile home parks as well as those living in apartment complexes.
The ordinance also protects organizers invited by tenants, providing them with a right to conduct door-to-door outreach to identify common issues, educate tenants about their rights, ascertain interest in establishing a tenant organization, and offer information about tenant organizations and educational events.