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Renters look to band together and form tenant union at south Charlotte apartments

Renters at the Landon Apartments off Sharon Road West are organizing a possible tenant union.
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Renters at the Landon Apartments off Sharon Road West are organizing a possible tenant union.

A group of renters at a south Charlotte apartment complex could form what appears to be one of — if not the — first tenant unions representing renters collectively in the city.

Residents at The Landon Apartments, off Sharon Road West, say their maintenance requests are often ignored, trash is picked up irregularly, and a community pool has been kept closed since the start of the pandemic even though renters are still charged community fees.

Christopher McElveen, who lives at The Landon, said he's had enough.

"I want to be heard, respected, and I just want stuff to get fixed and done," he said.

Tenants have been meeting with the Housing Justice Coalition and Action NC to learn more and figure out how to address issues. Benjamin Wicker, another resident, said he thinks a union could give neighbors more leverage.

"These contracts and these leases are put together, and it's very easy for the landlord to enforce their side of it. It's hard for tenants to enforce their side of it," Wicker said.

A tenants union can be a formal or informal group of renters advocating for shared interests.

The property management company did not immediately return requests for comment. The property's website advertises one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments with rents ranging from $1,075 to $1,960.

Tenant unions have been established in Durham, Greensboro and New Hanover counties in North Carolina. But it seems the effort at The Landon — an effort to give renters the power to negotiate and address issues collectively with their landlords instead of doing so on a one-to-one basis — would be new ground in Charlotte.

Rents have been rapidly rising in recent years in Charlotte, putting more pressure on tenants. The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Charlotte has risen about 5.5% over the past year to $1,315, according toapartmentlist.com.


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Nick de la Canal is an on air host and reporter covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. His work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal