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
the question: Is there a group of tenants who are committed to
working in a democratic and inclusive manner? IF NO, then:
it's time to reorganize to address feelings of exclusion that are
prompting tenants to "act out"
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.
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:
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;
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
Other demographic differences (gender, ethnic, language)