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Why tenants' associations can be important for tenants

There are many situations in New York and society in general when one person or a small group of people govern over or control a particular part of the majorities' lives. This could be in the employment setting when a boss or a group of bosses set the rules for the workers, which could include pay, working conditions, benefits and other parts of the job. Generally if one employee speaks up to try and improve the conditions for the employees, the complaints will fall on deaf ears. This is precisely why unions were started, there is strength in numbers.

The same type of idea applies to landlord-tenant disputes. The landlord owns the property and generally sets the rules for good and for bad. One tenant by themselves may not be able to convince landlords to make certain changes, but a group of tenants may have more success. That is why it can be a good idea for tenants of a building to form or join tenant associations.

When tenants all act together, they can put pressure on the landlord to make certain repairs, to stop harassment or illegal evictions and other actions that have a negative effect on the tenants. Generally, the landlord may be able to get by replacing a couple tenants, but they cannot evict an entire building and still be able to earn an income. Tenant associations also have the added benefit of allowing people within the building to form relationships and get to know one another, which can also have a lasting impact on their lives.

There are many more tenants in New York than there are landlords, yet the landlords generally are much more powerful than the tenants. That is why tenant associations can be so effective. The tenants can use their numbers to force the landlords to make changes by putting pressure on them as a group. These associations are also protected by law and landlords must allow them to form and to meet. There are many rights that tenants may not be aware that they possess and experienced attorneys may be able to help protect those rights.

Source:, "Forming a Tenants' Association," accessed on Dec. 26, 2017

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