Sioux Falls Tenants Union Meeting
On Monday September 16th members of the Sioux Falls community came together to attend the first Tenant's Rights Union meeting and to gather information about how we can collectively make Sioux Falls a more affordable and accessible city for renters. Leading the meeting was William Anderson. Will started by going over our current laws in regards to tenants and their ability to join unions, organize, and overall rights pertaining to renters abilities to deal with landlords that prey on people's unawareness of tenant laws. Next, Will laid out several options that the union is planning on working towards. This includes laws that have made tenant organizing either very difficult if not outright illegal as well as raising renter compensation in legal court cases. Most of the laws that govern areas of tenant rights have not been revised or updated in at least 20 years, some dating as far back as the late 70's.
Sioux Falls is currently in a difficult position. With 70,000 people currently renting, approximately 30,000 of them are considered “rent burdened”. This means that, according to economist standards, a renter that spends more than 25% per month on rent is considered burdened. Will suggested this is where the union can also use it's working class power to fight for better wages for workers and other measures that are directly tied to housing.
Representatives were in appearance Monday night as well to provide a plan that included an attempt at getting measures drawn up for the upcoming legislature, starting with small measures that would allow the union more opportunities to bring working class people together. As it sits currently, The tenant union is still unofficial as there are no official members and no dues (this is due to the fact that tenants are still unable to organize due to retaliation under the codified law 43-32-27).