Program Teaches Tenants Rights for Renters
Rent For Success gives renters information and practical advice for safely renting in Milwaukee.
Tina Wilson wants people to know their rights.
Wilson, the portfolio manager for Ogden and Company, a real estate company, has seen what it looks like when tenants are unfamiliar with the renting process.
“People often get taken advantage of,” Wilson said. “There are things you think people should know, and they just don’t.”
The program, run by the Department of Neighborhood Services, educates renters on how to make safe and healthy choices in their housing. It also provides resources for situations renters may encounter.
“He decided that since we’re teaching landlords what their responsibilities were, we should be teaching tenants the same thing,” Roberson said.
The program works with tenants on skills such as understanding rental agreements, finding healthy food in their area and ending a bad tenancy.
“We go over the small things like looking in cabinets and flicking light switches when you go to see a home,” she said. “And also reading contracts completely in order to know your responsibilities.”
Roberson said the most important thing the program teaches renters is how to advocate for themselves.
“We want renters to have great relationships with property owners,” she said. “One way to do that is to know as much about what your landlord is supposed to be doing as the landlord does.
“We understand that people aren’t taught how to be tenants,” Wilson said. “This is a way for them to gain insight and not be penalized for what they don’t know.”
Other organizations also encourage residents to use the program, including Community Advocates, a community-based organization that serves low-income families.
Shawanna Lindenberg, a housing department manager at Community Advocates, said the program provides residents with invaluable information.
“We want to train renters because we want them to live happy, stress-fee lives,” Roberson said.
More about Rent for Success
The program, now in its third year, is offering free virtual trainings. To attend a virtual session, you need to have five or more people and reach out to Herlyn Roberson at HROBER@milwaukee.gov
This story was originally published by Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, where you can find other stories reporting on fifteen city neighborhoods in Milwaukee.