With every testimonial claiming housing abuses — infestation, broken heating, high rents and evictions — the crowd rallying for tenants’ rights shouted, “That ain’t right!”
The advocacy group KC Tenants gathered frustrated renters in a biting cold wind to the steps of City Hall Oct. 30 to call on the City Council to pass a Tenants’ Bill of Rights.
KC Tenants has been advocating for renters, aiming to ease the high stress of housing woes that were chronicled in the Kansas City Eviction Project.
The crowd came, said KC Tenants’ Tiana Caldwell, with “the righteous belief” that everyone deserves “a safe, accessible, truly affordable home.”
The proposed bill of rights arose out of KC Tenants’ People’s Housing Platform.
Several City Council members have pledged support, including 4th District Councilman Eric Bunch, who addressed the crowd, and Mayor Quinton Lucas, who rallied their support.
“We’re tired of it,” Lucas said, recounting many of the testimonials from tenants at the rally. “And you’re right — it ain’t right!”
“Ya’ll ready to fight?! Lucas shouted. “All right! Let’s get this thing passed!”
The bill of rights would reinforce and expand protections for low-income renters in Kansas City, Missouri, and would create a tenant advocate's office with authority to investigate suspect property owners and revoke landlord permits, according to KCUR 89.3.
Tara Raghuveer, KC Tenants’ director, told the radio station, “We think we’ve got the votes.”
The Kansas City Star editorial board is backing a Tenant’s Bill of Rights, saying, “While the City Council will want to carefully consider some of the details, broadly speaking, the measures are an important step toward leveling the playing field for renters who have long been nearly powerless in many disputes with landlords.”
The Star reported that the measures will likely be heard by the council’s Housing Committee Nov. 6.