By Nadia Metayer
My name is Nadia Metayer, and I am a Bronx tenant leader with Community Action for Safe Apartments, which is part of the Right to Counsel NYC Coalition. I’m writing to you today to urge you to sign our petition to Mayor de Blasio to fund tenant organizing in NYC.
Tenant organizing has taught me that I am not alone in my fight to stay in my home. My landlord has made many attempts to evict me and other tenants. He didn’t want to accept that I succeeded my mother who moved and wanted to charge me 15% more rent. He has also taken me to court for rent payments that I made, but he “couldn’t find in his books.”
Through tenant organizing, I found out that he uses this strategy repeatedly to take other tenants to court and charge illegal fees. Going to court is intimidating and stressful, but luckily, I was able to have an attorney. Right to Counsel (RTC) didn’t take effect until 2017, but I see the powerful tool that it is today. I can’t imagine going through my long fight in housing court without an attorney.The power of having someone there helping you takes so much stress off your shoulders.
When I found out that my zip code had been granted RTC, I was extremely happy. When tenants have an attorney, landlords can no longer paralyze tenants with fear and use the courts to get away with illegal actions. This means we can organize stronger and gives us a reason to continue to fight for our rights as tenants. But far too many tenants still don’t know about this new right or are too afraid to use it.
That’s why our job is to pass Intro 1529 to fund tenant organizing so that all tenants know about and use their Right to Counsel. Stand with tenants and sign our petition now to pass Intro 1529!