Letter to the Editor: People in Randolph Under Attack from Corporate Landlords

Editor’s Note: Randolph, Massachusetts is a good distance from the Berkshires, so why am I running this Letter sent to The Greylock Glass from Eastern Mass? Simple. The issues faced by tenants in corporate owned housing are issues faced by plenty of folks out our way. The more people see that being a renter doesn’t mean you have no power, the sooner many of the behaviors of abusive landlords will stop.

Many Randolph, Mass. tenants are fearful of not having a safe place to live in spite of paying over $2000 a month for that privilege.   The Waterton Corporation, the owner of Rosemont Square Apartments in Randolph, MA has over 8 Billion dollars in assets throughout the US. This abundance in wealth has not been used to maintain the upkeep of their property and to ensure that their tenants have a safe and sanitary place to live. This company, and their local managers, continue to rake in huge profits while providing substandard housing conditions and ignoring calls to follow town housing codes.

These corporate landlords have a consistent strategy: they create poor living conditions for their working class tenants while using the constant threat of eviction to keep them from organizing for safe homes.  These corporate elites have no regard for the working class people from whom they profit and seem to feel that it is expected that they should live under these stressful and dangerous conditions.  It also seems that the authorities who are supposed to make sure people are safe also have no regard for people unless they are rich.  Tenants throughout Randolph are united in facing these conditions and are determined to fight back. 

Randolph Tenants United, with organizing help from South Shore DSA, has come together to prevent evictions and improve conditions.   While we live in different apartment complexes, we all face the same kinds of exploitation and are united in our willingness to fight for better conditions and freedom from fear of unjust eviction.  

After trying in vain to get help from the Town of Randolph, we are appealing to U.S. Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley to help her Randolph constituents.  We collected signatures from Randolph tenants in a petition to Pressley, asking her to intervene on our behalf to make our communities safe.

To Audience of Media outlet (editorial): If you share our concerns about this and want to help our cause, please contact Rep. Pressley and ask her to support the demands of Randolph Tenants United as outlined in the petition sent to her on 3/1/22.

– Randolph Tenants United, March 2022

March 1, 2022

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley 1295 River Street Hyde Park, Massachusetts 02136

Dear Congresswoman Pressley:

We call upon you for assistance. We are tenants living in Randolph, Massachusetts. For most of the past year, we have attempted to get our property management to address a number of health and safety issues. Tenants have been faced with retaliation in the form of unjustified eviction filings and landlord harassment. The main concerns we have brought to their attention, but still have not been addressed, are as follows:

  • Too few Trash receptacles;
  • Too few trash pickups, resulting in the overflow of garbage;
  • Failure to remediate the rodent infestation throughout our complexes;
  • Unauthorized and unwarranted entry into tenant’s apartments without notice;
  • Threats of retaliation to tenants who seek to organize in order to ensure that health and safety codes are being met;
  • Arbitrary rent increases and evictions;
  • Rejection of all reasonable attempts by tenants to effect change.

Many tenants are facing eviction for nonpayment of rent, when in actuality in almost all cases, tenants were current with payments. Thirty families were evicted in the month of January at Rosemont Square, owned by the Waterton Corp. The Metro South Housing Court has, so far, found many of these evictions to be based on “errors” on the part of management.

We sought assistance from the Board of Health of Randolph, the Town Manager, and the Town Council, but most of our complaints over the last year have gone unheeded.

The Town Council did fine the management of the Rosemont Square Apartments (Owned by Waterton Corporation) in the amount of $100 per instance of overflowing trash Yes, $100 for code violation, which the same management company fined several tenants $100 each, for putting their bagged trash next to the overflowed dumpster, negating the meaning of the town fine.

The situation has extended beyond the means of what we can achieve on the ground. Your voice and pressure on the Randolph Town Council, state and local departments of health, our state senator and representatives, and state and local attorneys general are requested. As one of the loudest voices in Congress for housing equity, we urge you to initiate correspondence with these officials.

Would you or your office be willing to act as a mediator between tenants landlords, or between tenants and local government? Or, could you find or recommend legal help to act on behalf of tenants as a group? We are tired of being treated as isolated individuals and need your help to obtain basic rights as citizens.

Sincerely,

[48 signatories]

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