Renovating a rental property

A new local grassroots activist organization called the Athens Tenant Union issued a press release last week announcing the launch of a campaign for “housing justice” in Athens.

The Tenant Union (ATU) in the release demands that Athens City Council create new legislation that will accomplish the following: Ending “unfair” withholding of security deposits by landlords; preventing “hidden and unfair late fees” on tenants; and creating a database of landlord housing code violations that is “open, transparent and accessible for all tenants in Athens.”

The group counts OU students as well as permanent area residents among its members. It meets every Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Bentley Hall 220.

“It is well known in Athens that landlords can take advantage of their tenants and get away with it,” the release reads. “Sometimes it is in the form of robbing tenants of their security deposits for trumped-up reasons. Other times landlords slap hidden late fees on tenants, and in return, many landlords don’t even keep tenants’ housing conditions up to code.”

The ATU in the release argued that the “existing institutions” in Athens have failed to address the problems listed above for years.

“It is time the tenants of Athens stand up to these slumlords,” the release reads. “We will need everyone’s help to put pressure on the Athens City Council to enact meaningful reforms that will empower tenants. Our strength is in our ability to organize ourselves.”

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