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Washington, D.C.

In Washington, D.C., tenants and tenant organizers have rights that essentially mirror the HUD regulations for federally-subsidized properties. Tenants have an affirmative right to “1) self-organization; 2) form, join, meet or assist one another within and without tenant organizations; 3) meet and confer through representatives of their own choosing with an owner; 4) engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of mutual aid and protection; and to 5) refrain from such activity.”

D.C. has also enumerated various protected activities for tenants and tenant organizers in their work to establish and operate a tenant organization. These protected activities include:

• distributing literature in lobby areas;
• placing literature at or under tenants’ doors;
• posting information on all building bulletin boards;
• assisting tenants to participate in tenant organization activities;
• convening tenant or tenant organization meetings at any reasonable time and in any appropriate space that would reasonably be interpreted as areas that the tenant had access to under the terms of their lease;
• formulating responses to various owner’s requests, including rent increases, proposed changes in the housing accommodation’s facilities and services, etc.;
• proposing that the owner or management modify the housing accommodation’s facilities and services; and
• other reasonable activities related to establishment or operation of a tenant organization.

If a multifamily housing project has a consistently-enforced written policy against canvassing, then a tenant organizer who is not a tenant must be accompanied by a tenant while on the property of the multifamily housing project. If a multifamily housing project does not have such a policy or has a written policy favoring canvassing, then any tenant organizer must be afforded the same privileges and rights of access as other uninvited outside parties in the normal course of operations.

Source: Code of the District of Columbia, Section 42-3505.06.

East Palo Alto

East Palo Alto has adopted the following protections for tenant organizing activities:

• Tenants have an affirmative right to “form, join and participate in the activities of a tenant organization for the purpose of addressing issues related to their living environment.”

• Tenant organizers have the affirmative right “to contact and communicate with tenants on the rental premises,” including within a rental unit or in a tenant common area, and to assist tenants in establishing, operating, and participating in a tenant’s organization.

• Both tenants and tenant organizers have the right to use common areas and community facilities for tenant meetings.

• Tenants may distribute literature to other tenants in common areas, as long as the literature relates to issues of common interest or concern to the tenants. Literature may be placed on the door of tenant units or slipped under the door. Literature must clearly include the name and contact information from the distributor, so tenants can opt out of future distributions if they desire.

• Tenants have the right to refuse to join or participate in the activities of tenant organizations.

Source: East Palo Alto Municipal Code, Section 14.02.050


In Florida, tenants of mobile home parks have the right to peaceably assemble in open public meetings in mobile home park common areas. These meetings may be for the purpose of discussing any problems relative to the mobile home park, and mobile home park owners may not restrict the use of any facility when requested for this purpose. Mobile home park tenants also have the right to canvas mobile home owners for the purpose of discussing problems related to a mobile home park. Canvassing includes “an oral or written request; the distribution, circulation, posting, or publication of a notice; or a general announcement requesting the payment of membership dues or other matters relevant to the membership of the park association.” Furthermore, mobile home park tenants have the right to invite representatives of a tenant organization to appear and speak upon matters of public interest in their meetings.

Source: Florida Statutes, Section 723.054.


California has adopted broad protections for tenant organizers. Specifically, a person who enters onto residential property for the purpose of providing information regarding tenants’ rights or to participate in an association that advocates for tenants’ rights is not liable in any criminal or civil action for trespass, as long as the person has been invited onto the property by an occupant during reasonable hours or because of emergency circumstances.

Source: California Civil Code, Section 1942.6.