Uninhabitable living conditions including mold and raw sewage, constant threats of eviction over petty lease violations, ignored maintenance requests, and constant harassment from on-site management are just some of the reasons Trestletree Village Apartments residents banded together to form a tenant association at the beginning of summer 2020.
Tenant organizing is a legally protected activity in not only the state of Georgia, but also across the country. A contract signed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Monroe Group, owners of the Trestletree property, makes the federal protections very clear: tenants have the right to organize.
After the launch of an online petition via the American Friends Service Committee's new housing defense platform and a peaceful family friendly community rally, the property management company who represents the owners of Trestletree has doubled down on their harassment of tenants, wading deeper into not only violating Georgia state law but breaching the company's HUD contract. This is especially troubling considering we are living through an unprecedented pandemic.
Furthermore, the management is attempting to organize their own tenant association, which is a clear violation of HUD's policy. They have threatened to arrest members of outside organizations, like the Housing Justice league, if they are on the property—also a violation of their HUD contract. In addition, the Atlanta Economic Justice Program (AEJ) has learned that management has intimidated several tenants who are guilty of nothing more than attempting to fix unacceptable living conditions.
AEJ will continue to support tenants fighting for their rights and ask that you sign and share the online petition created by Trestletree tenants through the Home Defender platform in partnership with the Housing Justice League.
The program also maintains its work to respond directly to housing crises through its COVID-19 Hotline, which utilizes as many as 100 volunteers to field calls from and educate individuals who are at risk of eviction in the Atlanta area. Using the hotline, relationships can be built with landlords and mortgage holders to avoid housing emergencies during a time of unpredictable economic stress—and collective power can be leveraged to aid those in need.