Renters Together LFK began canvassing the residents of Hanover Place in January 2019, asking residents what problems they were having with the complex and what they’d like to see changed. Without fail, residents said the parking lot was a disaster area. One resident even said they’d suffered $300 in damage from hitting one particularly bad pothole! While much of Lawrence was suffering from potholes due to the awful winter, Hanover Place was the worst most of us had seen.
We began conducting small group meetings at Hanover Place, asking residents to come and discuss their problems and meet their neighbors over some food, and explore what they wanted the next steps to be. Residents began filing inspection requests with the city rental inspectors. We also expanded our canvassing to other properties managed by McCullough Property Management, including West Hills and (eventually) Village Square. We quickly learned that West Hills had parking lot problems as well, even if they weren’t quite as awful as Hanover Place’s.
We began canvassing there more regularly, and also began researching the actual ownership of these properties once we got a tip that they were owned by different groups. Researching the ownership of the properties revealed that they weren’t owned by any one individual, instead owned by corporate LLCs that owned shares of the complexes, including the Austin TX Police Department Pension Fund (!). Meanwhile, small group meetings were continuing at Hanover Place, and we found out that Hanover Place residents were self-radicalizing as they realized that requesting city inspections wasn’t getting them the results they wanted.
One night spray paint appeared around the worst potholes and banners also began appearing:
Meanwhile, RTLFK staged a free cookout at West Hills in April, drawing ~40 residents and management attention. Management was clearly nervous about this, and sent a representative to the cookout to keep an eye on us and the residents. We discussed the problems that residents were reporting to us, and residents also voiced their concern directly to management. However, as it seemed no action was forthcoming, residents began planning a sit-in demonstration at the leasing office to demand fixes.
And then, five months after we began our campaign, this happened:
Both Hanover Place and West Hills had their parking lots repaired! Hanover Place had a full strip down and replacement of the parking surface, while West Hills had their potholes filled. Resident demands were answered, fixes were made, and our campaign ended. Except it didn’t - Hanover Place still needs several staircases repaired and replaced, West Hills needs mold remediation and weatherization, and McCullough Property Management still needs to be held accountable!
This success story is the first of many to come, but we need your help! Let us know what problems you’re having with your landlord! Talk to your neighbors, and see if they’re having similar problems, and demand accountability from your landlord. Lawrence residents don’t have to suffer through poorly maintained housing situations - we have the power to demand change!Back to RTLFK Actions