Building and Strengthening Tenant Action
Buscando Acción y Solidaridad Que Transforme el Arrendamiento
Organizing Austin Renters for healthy and affordable homes.
BASTA is a non-profit project dedicated to helping Austin renters work with their neighbors to improve conditions in their homes and communities.
We envision a future where
the collective action of
1. Action taken by a group of people working towards the same goal.
2. One way tenants can take collective action is by forming tenants associations. Tenants associations can tackle pervasive issues that affect many renters at a property using a variety of tactics such as submitting repair requests as a group, coordinating property-wide code inspections, negotiating with management and owners, taking legal action, and bringing attention to their problems and their proposed solutions.
Austin renters has
# of hours needed to work at minimum wage to afford a 2 Bedroom in Austin
75% of Austin Households earning less than $50k a year are renters
# of Austin Households are renters
hourly wage needed to afford a 2 Bedroom apartment in Austin
brought healthy and
1. Homes that are constructed, maintained, or operated in a manner that does not negatively impact the health and safety of the ordinary tenant.
2. The National Center for Healthy Housing lists the following identifiers of healthy homes: contaminant-free; well-ventilated; properly maintained; dry; clean; pest-fee; safe; thermally controlled.
3. Healthy Homes should not be unaffordable.
affordable housing to all.
2. Housing costs exceeding this amount are considered unaffordable and cost-burdening to the renter.
3. Affordable housing should not mean housing that is in substandard condition or sacrifices your right to quiet enjoyment.
Our first step to improving conditions at properties is talking to renters. Engaging renters in conversations helps identify common problems. We employ a variety of outreach techniques to connect with tenants at substandard properties and to figure out what issues are most important to them.
Outreach techniques include
flyering, attending resource
fairs, and conducting
FORM & DEVELOP TENANTS ASSOCIATIONS
Part of our mission is creating solidarity in tenant communities by developing tenants associations. After initial outreach, our team organizes meetings where we bring neighbors together to discuss their common goals and the role collective action can play in achieving them.
Once formed, we work with tenants associations to build the
association's membership, facilitate a culture of consensus-
oriented decision-making, and develop the leadership skills
necessary to sustain a tenant-led organization.
We help associations navigate the ups and downs inherent to
this work. Keeping an inclusive tenant association active
requires navigating the challenges of poverty, racism, and a
culture of individualism. Organizers help tenant
associations overcome these barriers.
STRATEGIZE TO IMPROVE CONDITIONS
We work with tenant associations to choose the best tactics to achieve their desired outcomes and assist in the development and execution of their specific plans.
Our strategies include collecting and submitting written repair requests as a group; tenant association meetings with management, property owners and third parties; making group complaints to Austin Code; and legal advocacy.
We are constantly workshopping and improving methods while developing new strategies.
EDUCATE ON TENANT RIGHTS
Knowing the protections and limitations of Texas landlord tenant law helps renters make informed decisions about their homes. We educate tenants about these rights at tenant meetings, community workshops, and resource fairs.
We use visual aids, participatory skits, interactive presentations, and games to talk about:
TRAIN TENANT LEADERS
Our goal is to create sustainable and autonomous tenant associations by cultivating leadership in tenant communities.
We provide one-on-one guidance and group trainings in the following areas: outreach methods, facilitation techniques, negotiation strategy, campaign planning, and property research.
By developing leaders, tenants associations are equipped to more effectively advocate for themselves and their neighbors.
Tenants Associations Get Commitments from New Owners
RBJ Tenants Association Meets with Owner to Get Answers Ahead of Redevelopment
Tenants Demand Justice for Trapped Neighbor
this information is for educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as legal counsel or advice.
RIGHT T0 REPAIRS
for additional resources, visit:
Under Chapter 92.331 of the Texas Property Code, a landlord cannot retaliate against renters for requesting repairs, complaining to a government agency or participating in a tenant organization.
Check out our Written Repair Request guide and follow these steps to help get your repairs taken care of in a timely manner.
What conditions is your landlord supposed to repair? Are you supposed to do them yourself? Who pays for them? Get the 101 on Repairs here.
Find out more about general tenants rights in Texas and how to exercise them.
RIGHT T0 ORGANIZE
Help us make healthy and affordable housing attainable for all renters.