The Tenants Union has been organizing residents in West Philadelphia to fight against a common landlord, Iron Stone Strategic Capital Partners. Residents have formed tenant associations in order to advocate for better housing conditions, basic human respect and the right to stay in their homes.
WHO THEY ARE
In 2011, Iron Stone purchased 786 apartment units around the country. They bought these for $25 million “from Citibank and Intervest Bank, which had seized them from the former American Gardens Apartments when the New York-based landlord fell behind on loan payments. The sales doubled Iron Stone’s local apartment portfolio, after previous purchases of the former Ogontz Manor (now the Julian) near LaSalle University, and other city buildings, during the 2008 credit crisis. Iron Stone was formed with $50 million in investor commitments in 2007.”
In West Philadelphia, Iron Stone bought several apartment complexes near major universities. Since then, residents have faced deteriorating conditions, including broken elevators, surveillance and lack of heat. Many suspect that they will be pushed out by the next wave of college students and young professionals.
WHAT WE’VE DONE
The Tenants Union arrived in landlord tenant court to provide legal defense for two Iron Stone residents facing eviction. Iron Stone came unprepared but still succeeded in forcing one resident out of her home. It made clear to us that court will always favor the landlord, never the tenant.
Iron Stone residents starred in a “lowlight” reel to draw attention to some of the worst things they’ve had to deal with. One resident was later retaliated against for being in this video and received a threatening letter from management.
Iron Stone Strategic Capital has refused to meet with their tenants for over a month. Under the pressure of our campaign, they've started to make a few token repairs and improvements. But overall, they're up to all their old tricks. So we're ramping up our fight.This week, we'll begin sharing some of our Iron Stone "lowlight" reel–some of the worst things their tenants have had to deal with. We hope they'll inspire you to join our fight to get these rich Penn grads to the table to talk with the union.
Posted by Philadelphia Tenants Union on Sunday, October 9, 2016
Iron Stone residents and allies delivered their demands and fifty resident-signed letters to the landlord. These letters requested Iron Stone meet with the Tenants Union to discuss big changes and putting those changes in writing. The Tenants Union was barred entry to the office and threatened with arrest.