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.

  • KCPS prepares to vaccinate employees, return to classroom

    January 14th, 2021

    The Kansas City Public School district (KCPS) announced January 14 that it is preparing to offer vaccinations to all employees […]

    KCPD to outfit all officers with body cams

    January 14th, 2021

    The Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) plans to order 475 additional body-worn cameras for its patrol officers, said Kansas City […]

    Homicide at Admiral and Lydia

    January 13th, 2021

    Update, Thursday, Jan. 14 at 8:30 a.m. – The victim has been identified as Keith Lars, a 36-year-old Black male. […]

    Hope Faith facilitates City’s new housing program

    January 13th, 2021

    Resources are expanding for Kansas City’s unhoused families who have lost homes due to COVID-19 as the City has signed […]

    Four Alarm Fire displaces dozens.

    January 13th, 2021

    A four alarm fire engulfed an apartment building in the 1100 block of Benton Boulevard in the early morning of […]

    Kansas City organization focuses on Latinx representation in education

    January 13th, 2021

    Daisy Garcia Montoya Contributor Local nonprofit organization Latinx Education Collaborative (LEC) is working to increase and retain the number of […]

    The memory of a local star still shines

    January 13th, 2021

    Bryan Stalder Contributor A stalwart of the Northeast community, Shane Rowse, passed away last September at the age of 55. […]

    Medical Examiner: Body found at burning car in East Bottoms a motor vehicle fatality

    January 12th, 2021

    On Monday, Jan. 11, the Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) announced the second fatal vehicle crash of 2021. On Saturday, […]

  • Jackson County suspends evictions as pressure from KC Tenants mounts

    January 12th, 2021

    Jackson County 16th Circuit Court Judge J. Dale Youngs signed an Administrative Order on Monday, Jan. 11 to temporarily suspend […]

    KCPD Chief Rick Smith on 2020 Homicide numbers

    January 9th, 2021

    https://kcpdchief.blogspot.com/2021/01/with-kcs-2020-homicide-increase-below.html?m=1 Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below! Enter your email address and click […]

    Homicide, 10th & Fuller

    January 8th, 2021

    Update 2 p.m. Jan. 11: The victim has been identified as Jeffery Brown, a 26-year-old white male. Just before 1 […]

    Fire strikes home at Norton/Smart Avenues.

    January 7th, 2021

    At approximately 4:48 this afternoon, Kansas City Missouri firefighters responded to a residential fire in the 400 block of Norton […]

    Lykins neighborhood shelters unhoused community members

    January 6th, 2021

    Abby Hoover Managing Editor When residents in the Lykins neighborhood complained of a growing homeless camp on a vacant lot, […]

    Shultz honored for Harmony Project

    January 6th, 2021

    Abby Hoover Managing Editor The Northeast Community Center has been paving the way for young urban core musicians through Harmony […]

    Homicide, 8th and Prospect

    January 4th, 2021

    On Monday, December 28th at approximately 8pm, officers were dispatched to the area of 8th street and Prospect Avenue on […]

    KCPD releases NYE celebratory gunfire numbers

    January 2nd, 2021

    The Kansas City, Missouri Police Department has just released celebratory gunfire numbers from New Year’s Eve and despite fears that […]

  • Northeast Newscast

  • Faces Of Northeast

  • Remember This?

  • 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.