We strongly recommend checking out two guides in particular for organizing buildings during COVID-19:
This guide by Tenants And Neighborhood Councils out of the Bay Area provides specific step-by-step instructions, as well as information about keeping organizing accessible to native speakers of multiple languages.
This guide by the Philadelphia Tenants Union is equally excellent, but focuses more on general organizing techniques.
In addition, we have some documents that can be useful in the process of organizing a building:
Start establishing connections in your building by handing this fillable flyer to neighbors or slip it under their doors if they aren’t at home. Make sure to wash your hands before handling it!
Move from a group of neighbors who talk to each other to a tenant council with actual power by getting everyone to sign this got your back pledge. Please adapt it as needed to your building’s particular circumstances.
Once enough neighbors have signed the pledge, send a letter to your landlord (or property manager) declaring your tenants’ council and making your demands. Again, adapt this letter as much as you see fit—every building is different!
A coalition of local housing activists have also put together a guide to rent striking that’s particularly useful once your building starts to get more organized.
In collaboration with the Seattle Solidarity Network, we’ve created a landlord research guide for figuring out who owns your building and which other buildings they own. This can help you connect with tenants in other buildings owned by the same person and create a powerful coalition with lots of leverage to negotiate demands.
The Tenants Union of Washington State is another a great resource.. While PSTU is focused on organizing to build tenant power, TUWS focuses more on collating and distributing information related to tenants’ rights. They even have a tenants’ rights hotline to answer any immediate questions you may have.
Wondering which eviction moratorium you’re covered by and what the details are? This spreadsheet lists all known eviction moratoriums in effect across Washington. And no matter what, you’re covered by the statewide moratorium: your landlord can’t give you a 14-day non-payment eviction notice or a 20 day no-cause eviction notice until April 17th (unless the eviction is “necessary to ensure the health and safety of the tenant or other individuals”).
If your landlord is serving notices despite this, you can start by filing an official complaint. But the best way to ensure you and your neighbors will be treated humanely now and in the future is by organizing your building, and we can help!
There are a bunch of mutual aid groups around the city connecting people with the capacity to donate and deliver groceries and supplies to people who need them. If you’re in Seattle, the biggest network is #covid19mutualaid:
If you’re not in Seattle, It’s Going Down has compiled a list of mutual aid organizations across the Pacific Northwest.
If you’re short on rent, the Seattle Solidarity Network has set up rentrelief.net to help coordinate donations and organize buildings.
Want to help spread the word about PSTU? We’ve got a poster you can print at home and put up on nearby telephone poles or other surfaces. Tape works fine, but the easiest and cheapest way to do it is by wheatpasting.