After almost a month on rent strike, the Villas Del Paseo tenants have gotten water back. However, their demands also include prorated rent for all days without water, 24 hour response time on repair requests, and more. The tenants are continuing their rent strike until all demands are met.
Throughout the month of March, Comunidad Partners and the management of Villas Del Paseo have continued their maltreatment of tenants. For example, earlier in the month, when most tenants were still without water, a donor donated a large amount of water. Management confiscated it to give away the next day when they knew reporters would be there to cover the ongoing strike. After hearing about the management hoarding water from tenants for a PR stunt, more tenants came out to confront management on their hoarding. Due to the collective pressure exerted by the tenants, management finally provided some water and some portable urinals.
As the strike progressed a community meeting was called for the tenants to further organize themselves. The tenants are taking ownership of the strike and the division of labor involved, and collectively deciding as they go how to proceed. While water had been restored to many units, the tenants decided together to continue the strike until all other demands were met. They also decided to create their own tenants’ union - the Villas Del Paseo Tenants Union.
The tenants themselves spoke about why they were on strike:
"The landlords showed a total disregard for our wellbeing by not restoring water in a timely manner. Our decision to go on strike spurred them to action. They have a culture of not maintaining the building and we are saying NO MORE. We need change, we need justice!" -Ms. Johnson
"Management has been horrible at handling the lack of water. We didn’t see plumbers doing work until we started our rent strike. We’re not paying rent until it’s fixed and compensation is given to all of us!" - Sean
“We, the tenants at Villas Del Paseo, are striking because we have been without water for 21 days. This is totally unacceptable and negligence on the part of Comunidad Partners! We demand that rent be prorated due to management’s disregard for our health and essential needs.” -Jim
“Management’s continuous lack of effort, lack of results and blatant removal of incomplete repair work orders lead to this catastrophe.” - Count Ernest
In an interview with Houston Public Media, another tenant expressed that the apartment management’s lack of action following winter storm Uri was “the straw that broke the camel’s back”. She further explained “There's so many other issues with the apartments...There are so many people who are living with holes in their walls."
The tenants met and created a banner. They then picketed the apartment complex by the street. “No Justice, No Rent”. “What do we want? Reduced rent!”
United in their struggle for justice, the tenants of Villas Del Paseo continue to meet regularly to organize and advance their cause. So far management has failed to meet their demands. The tenants stand together, resolved to continue their struggle as long as is necessary.