Direct Action for Rights and Equality hopes to establish right to year-long lease, limit rent increases
By EMILY DAVIES
Thursday, March 8, 2018
After a childhood littered with eviction notices, Providence native Franklin Rivera began adulthood by moving into an apartment last year — and was promptly faced with a leaking roof, hazardous electrical outlets, an unresponsive landlord and the burden of filing a lawsuit. The apartment is so “unlivable” that Rivera has sued his landlord for “not maintaining the apartment and not having a habitable house to live in,” he said.
But the lawsuit may very well prove fruitless for Rivera; his lease is month-to-month, which means the landlord could choose to evict him at any time during the process with only 30 days notice.
Direct Action for Rights and Equality is hoping to support Rivera and other renters like him by putting rent-stabilization on the Providence ballot this fall, DARE advocates announced at a press conference in February. The initiative would establish the right to a year-long lease and enact regulations that allow rent to increase only once a year and by no more than four percent, said Christopher Samih-Rotondo, community organizer for the Tenant and Homeowner Association at DARE. It would also set up a rent board to publish annual reports on Rhode Island property and mediate disputes between landlords and tenants, he added.