Alabama Tenant Victory

It took 13 years, but Alabama Arise’s efforts to win minimal protection for tenants finally bore fruit this year. The governor signed a bill to limit security deposits, define habitable dwellings and give a tenant the right to break a lease if necessary repairs are not made. (See article on Alabama Arise’s tenant work in SF #138.) The coalition also won an increase in the threshold at which a family of four below poverty level must pay income taxes from $4,600 to $12,000. That victory took 18 years to achieve. The group credited these breakthroughs to its persistent outreach to politicians and the media, as well as working closely with a variety of activist groups. (NLIHC)

Alan Mallach, senior fellow at the Center for Community Progress and the National Housing Institute, is the author of many works on housing and planning, including Bringing Buildings Back, A Decent Home, and Inclusionary Housing in International Perspective. He served as director of housing and economic development for Trenton, New Jersey, from 1990 to 1999, and teaches in the City and Regional Planning program at Pratt Institute.


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