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what can you do if a tenant "activist" keeps disrupting the tenants organization?

You know the story
Meetings are disrupted by loud and pointless arguments. Flyers attacking tenant leaders are posted in the building. There are threats or actual physical violence. Social agencies and HUD get calls from management, service coordinators and others about tenant organization problems. Rank and file tenants retreat from the conflict and confine themselves to their apartments-avoiding the community room and lobby.

Here's the question: Is there a group of tenants who are committed to working in a democratic and inclusive manner? IF NO, then:

maybe it's time to reorganize to address feelings of exclusion that are prompting tenants to "act out"

maybe there can be room for two groups with different leadership and different goals and activities? Neither could lay claim to being "bona fide" but that might not reduce their effectiveness. See alternatives to organizing.

Here's the other question: is the disruption really a "peaceful enjoyment" issue? A tenant has an duty under the Ohio Landlord Tenant Law or protect the peaceful enjoyment of the premises. ORC 5321.05 (A) (8) says:

(8) Conduct himself and require other persons on the premises with his consent to conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb his neighbors' peaceful enjoyment of the premises;

Management may enforce that duty by terminating the rental agreement of a tenant who's behavior is disrupting the peaceful enjoyment. Note that: the grounds must be really clear and supported by real evidence (not she said/he said)... and if the behavior is related to a disability then the tenant may ask for a reasonable accommodation. Contrary to what some think-a reasonable accommodation DOES NOT MEAN that folks just have to accept bad behavior-it means that the person with the disability wlll take steps to prevent the bad behavior in the future in exchange for an opportunity to avoid termination.

 ...Not a social club
A tenants organization is different than a social club.  In a social club members are invited based on common interests and "affinities" or demographics.  In a tenants organization all tenants are invited to participate whether they are part of the same age cohort, or attend the same church, or like to play bingo...

Sources of conflict in a tenants organization
(and some suggestions
  • Money
  • Unhappy people
  • Age differences
  • Other demographic differences (gender, ethnic, language)