|Posted:||October 7, 2021 12:13 PM|
|From:||Representative Rick Krajewski|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Tenants’ Rights to Mediation|
|For many people, the safety and comfort of their overall home environment is dependent on mutual respect and consideration between themselves and the roommates that they share their home with. Shared housing is often the only affordable housing option available for working class people. This is especially true in more urban areas of the state. In Philadelphia for example, renters can pay as much as 44 percent less to live in shared environments compared to renting on their own. Many people also seek shared housing for the sense of community and camaraderie. I myself am currently in a shared living situation, and I’m sure there are other members who are as well.
Unfortunately, mutual respect and consideration between roommates may not always be a given. People in co-living environments can be subjected to aggression, intimidation, open antagonism, bullying, discrimination, and more on a regular basis. During the pandemic many people have been dealing with social isolation and mental health trauma. These episodes can lead to increased aggression and intimidation towards housemates. As things stand currently, renters in these scenarios have little recourse -- other than conferring with a landlord who is often not legally obliged to take action or involving the police in issues which they are not trained to address, and which are often not criminal in the first place.
No tenant should be forced to endure a constant feeling danger or discomfort in their own home, which is why I plan to introduce this legislation providing tenants with a right to mediation. This legislation would require landlords to pursue professional mediation in instances where any tenant makes substantiated reports of serious interpersonal conflict. Reportable offenses would include all manners of conduct that are severe or pervasive enough to create a home environment for other occupants that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive. This requirement would only apply to landlords renting property in counties where free professional mediation services are available, so as not to place undue financial burden on landlords or tenants.
Every person should have the right to a home that is safe, peaceful, and free from hostility. Please join us in sponsoring this important legislation.
Introduced as HB2136