KC Tenants rally at City Hall to ‘collect their check’

Elizabeth Orosco
Managing Editor

Members of KC Tenants gathered Wednesday morning, March 11, on the south steps of City Hall to discuss a proposal that would fully fund the Tenants Bill of Rights.

KC Tenants is an organization working to “ensure that everyone in Kansas City has a safe, healthy, accessible, and truly affordable home.”

The Tenants Bill of Rights package, which included a resolution and an ordinance, passed 12-1 Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019, and was signed into law Dec. 13, 2019. 

KC Tenants asked the council to pass the two together and fully fund them to ensure implementation and enforcement, however, zero funding was provided for the Tenants Bill of Rights in the FY 2020-2021 city budget that was released Feb. 13, 2020.

The resolution aims to enforce existing tenant rights and lists additional protections including the right to organize, protection from retaliation, not passing permit fees to tenants, limits on security deposits, written tenant consent and notification before landlord entry, disclosure about past issues in the unit and a utilities estimate, and the right to receive a Tenant Bill of Rights document before the start of each tenancy.

The ordinance would establish a Rental Housing Assistance Unit within a new Division of Housing and Community Development to educate tenants of their rights and resources, operate a Rental Housing Hotline, establish a Rental Housing Center, and publish a regularly-updated Tenant Bill of Rights Document enumerating legal protections.

The Division would work with the Health Department to ensure freedom from discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, mental or physical disability, marital status, familial status, age, sexual orientation or gender identity, gender expression, ethnic background, being a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, source of income, arrest and conviction history, or rental history.

After three public hearings on the city budget, in which members of KC Tenants attended and advocated for funding, no funds have been allocated for the Tenants Bill of Rights. 

“We cannot keep passing unfunded mandates,” said Jenay Manley, a leader with KC Tenants, at the Feb. 22, 2020 budget hearing. 

At the press conference Wednesday, leaders of KC Tenants discussed the importance of funding the Tenants Bill of Rights and what it means for the tenants who make up 48% of the city’s residents.

“I need to know that I have people who can advocate for me as a tenant when I don’t know how to advocate for myself,” said Skyler Whittaker. “I need the Mayor and the City Council to be accountable for fulfilling their promise to fully fund and implement the Tenants Bill of Rights. I need the leaders of our city to be committed to doing the right thing.”

“If we don’t fund the implementation of the Tenants Bill of Rights, if we don’t fund the outreach and education for our tenants in this city, if we don’t fund enforcement against bad actors, what will we have to do?” asked Kevin Jean-Paul, a leader with KC Tenants. “We are not here asking for funding for our organization. We are not here looking for jobs at City Hall. We are here to collect our check. And with that check, give that power back to the people. We are here and we aren’t going anywhere.”

Mayor Lucas responded in a recent statement, discussing recent work that has been done.

“The plan has always been to fight for as much funding as possible in year one for our Tenants Rights Package that was passed back in December. I think we’ve done an impressive job already finding hundreds of thousands of dollars for temporary rental assistance; we’re working to find hundreds of thousands [of] dollars more for legal assistance for those who face eviction; and hundreds of thousands of dollars more to make sure we can provide more teaching, education, and training about tenants’ rights—not just for tenants, but for landlords, as well. We’ve already made incredible strides in making sure Kansas City is a better place for tenants to live and I look forward to continuing this important work alongside our friends with KC Tenants.”

After the press conference, members of KC Tenants visited the Mayor’s office on the 29th floor of City Hall and presented a letter to his assistant asking Mayor Lucas to present feedback on the budget proposal and proposed language for a budget amendment to fund the implementation and enforcement of the Tenants Bill of Rights. 

KC Tenants plans to have a meeting with Mayor Lucas this week to determine budget amendments moving forward. 

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

Comments are closed.

  • Osage sculpture recovered

    September 15th, 2021

    GoFundMe effort to help cover restoration Michael Bushnell Publisher Under the cover of darkness on an early August night, thieves […]

    ‘Where the world collides’

    September 15th, 2021

    Della Lamb prepares to welcome Afghan refugees Abby Hoover Managing Editor Like many refugee resettlement agencies, Della Lamb Community Services […]

    YOUTH R.I.S.E. motivates young Northeast soccer athletes

    September 15th, 2021

    Abby Hoover Managing Editor The Youth R.I.S.E. soccer club is not only making a name for itself on the field, […]

    Sheffield Place debuts renovation, expands services for single mothers

    September 15th, 2021

    Abby Hoover Managing Editor Sheffield Place, a rehabilitation center and home for single mothers and their children, unveiled its much […]

    Youth football field plagued by vandals

    September 15th, 2021

    Abby Hoover Managing Editor Over the past two months, the Missouri Wolverines have been the victim of vandalism with increasing […]

    Accident takes life of motorcyclist at Indep/Spruce

    September 13th, 2021

    Just after 2am Sunday morning, KCPD officers responded to the area of Independence and Spruce on the report of a […]

    Shooting for a great cause

    September 11th, 2021

    Over 200 shooters took part today in the 6th annual John b-mesh Memorial Scholarship Sporting Clays shoot held at powder […]

    Problem building burns again

    September 10th, 2021

    Fire broke out this morning a little after 8 a.m. at an abandoned apartment building at 5208 Independence Avenue. Kansas […]

  • Lykins neighborhood searches for illegal dumpers

    September 9th, 2021

    Lykins neighborhood leadership is searching for illegal dumpers who left trash in a vacant lot owned by the Lykins Neighborhood […]

    Gallery: Kansas City Museum Derby Party

    September 8th, 2021

    Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below! Enter your email address and click on […]

    Man fatally shot at 19th and Vine Tuesday night

    September 8th, 2021

    One man is dead following an overnight shooting near 19th and Vine Street. This morning at 10 minutes after midnight, […]

    Kansas City Museum debuts renovation at annual Derby Party

    September 8th, 2021

    Abby Hoover Managing Editor The 2021 Derby Party at the Kansas City Museum, 3218 Gladstone Blvd., was a grand affair […]

    D.O. More United raises funds for Christine’s Place

    September 8th, 2021

    Michael Bushnell Publisher Christine’s Place and Relentless Pursuit are working to combat human trafficking along one of the city’s oldest […]

    Kansas City Public School’s Lincoln Prep to be featured in PBS documentary

    September 8th, 2021

    Abby Hoover Managing Editor In the heart of Kansas City sits “The Castle on the Hill,” an educational institution with […]

    Mayor announces KC Redistricting Commission

    September 7th, 2021

    Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas today announced his appointments to Kansas City’s Redistricting Commission. The Commission will hold its first […]

    There’s a new sheriff in town and it doesn’t miss a thing

    September 2nd, 2021

    Due to an ongoing spate of targeted vandalism at the Cricket Wireless store at 2633 Independence Blvd., the Independence Avenue […]

  • Northeast Newscast

  • Faces Of Northeast

  • Postcard

    Katz pays the tax

    September 15th, 2021

  • Remember This?

    Remember this?

    September 15th, 2021

  • retorts illustrated by bryan stalder

  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.