Tenant Counseling Volunteers
Have you gotten help from the TU’s tenant rights hotline? Are you are passionate about empowering tenants with the information to keep themselves & their families safety housed? The Tenants Union occasionally trains volunteers to provide housing counseling to tenants seeking to understand and assert their rights. Tenant Counselors are trained in landlord-tenant matters and listen to tenants’ concerns, ask questions to draw out key information, and identify the housing issues. Counselors are knowledgeable in state and local housing laws, and explain the options a tenant may use to resolve their housing crisis. Tenant Counselors do not give legal advice, but do connect tenants to information, tools and resources, TU membership, organizing and advocacy for housing justice.
Contact Volunteer Coordinator Stina Janssen to ask about becoming a Tenant Counseling volunteer.
Stina Janssen, Volunteer Coordinator
(206) 722-6848 × 102
Tenants Union of Washington
5425 Rainier Avenue, Ste B
Seattle, WA 98108
Why is Tenants’ Rights Training Critical to Housing Justice?
Access to housing, affordability, safe & livable conditions, and the power to assert rights are only the beginning.
It’s about wealth inequality:
- Renters are more likely to be low income people.
- The median net wealth of a middle age homeowner is $219,600, while the median net wealth of a middle age tenant: $6,590. The difference: $213,010.
It’s about racial inequality:
- People of Color & immigrants are disproportionately represented among low income tenants.
It’s about discrimination:
- The Seattle office of Civil Rights found that over half of Seattle landlords illegally discriminate. Testing confirmed that African Americans and people with disabilities face frequent rental housing discrimination in Seattle.
It’s about unequal access to legal support:
- Tenants in Washington have no governmental agency to rely on to enforce their rights. Landlord-Tenant laws in Washington State are considered “self help” — it is up to individual tenants to get their rights enforced. Tenants who attempt to assert their rights often face retaliation.
- In eviction court, landlords nearly always have legal representation while tenants rarely do.
It’s about power in numbers:
- Over one third of Washington State residents are renters. Seattle is home to over 500,000 tenants.
The Tenants Union is one of very few resources for Washington State tenants to learn about their rights. Interns and Fellows are critical in meeting the demand for tenant rights education.
The Tenants Union builds power in the housing justice movement, and power begins with knowledge.
Sources include Census Bureau, Harvard University, City of Seattle