The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Greenbelt, Maryland:
Tenants Fight Back against Greedy Landlords

Jan 29, 2024

Tenants at the Charlestowne North apartment building in Greenbelt, Maryland are upset about the worsening conditions there. The high-rise where half the tenants are seniors was bought one year ago by an out-of-state landlord. The new landlord quickly cut maintenance staff from three to one, replaced the longtime apartment manager, and stopped paying the security service. A backlog of maintenance requests shot up, including broken pipes, damaged walls and ceilings, and mold on carpets.

The landlord made tenants pay utilities on top of their rent, where before utilities were included in the rent. Tenants in nearly a quarter of the 178 apartments left. More and more of the others have been speaking out. With code violations accumulating, officials voided the property rental license. Maryland sued the landlords over the violations. Tenants in New Jersey just won a lawsuit against the same landlord in December over similar conditions.

If left to their own devices, investors like these are happy to take tenants’ rent money to make a quick buck and let the conditions deteriorate. In this case, more than 80 tenants filled the Greenbelt, Maryland library meeting room outside Washington, D.C. to demand city and state officials do something about the deplorable conditions.

They’re right. They refused to simply be quiet and accept to continue to be ripped off. More of us need to follow their example.