Last night, after months of attempting to get in contact with their property manager, residents at Georgetown Park were able to meet with some of their management via zoom.
ACER’s community organizer, Vandali, has been meeting with residents since September. They’ve shared their stories of unattended maintenance requests, broken locks, inconsistently enforced parking, and a lack of security by the property managers. As tenants met and learned from each other, they also were extended the opportunity to do a mini organizer training that ACER offered in partnership with the University of Minnesota’s Center of Urban and Regional Affairs at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Through this process, residents learned the basics of how to work together to hold their landlord accountable, especially during a pandemic.
The meeting’s agenda was centered around providing space to share their stories from living at the complex. The testimonies varied from dismissive experiences with management to ignored damage to personal property by people who did not live at Georgetown Parks. Residents were clear that they want to work with the management to create a safe environment for everybody who lives and works at the complex.
The asks were simple: security cameras, for maintenance requests to be addressed in a timely manner, consistent surveillance of the parking lot, communication about the inconsistent towing policies, and a secure method for submitting rent payment that did not require scheduling an in-person appointment in the midst of a pandemic.
Because upper management was not on the call, it is unclear how many of these requests will be responded to. The property manager had some plans for the parking lot as well as the unaddressed maintenance requests, and was willing to take the rest to the Landlord, but expressed little hope in increased security or communication around towing. Residents were thankful for the meeting overall, but skeptical that more would be productive.
In the meantime, they will continue to have their virtual tenant meetings guided by Vandali, continue learning about tenant rights, and ensure that they adapt their plans as the situation develops.