Landlords play an important role in helping survivors access stable housing. Building strong relationships with landlords isn’t always easy and can take some time. Here are some tips on locating, reaching out to, and engaging with landlords in your community.
Why should landlords be involved?
- Personal and community connections—help find solutions to housing instability and invest in the health of the community
- It’s the law!
- VAWA 2013: for PHA property managers and those renting to tenants with Housing Choice vouchers
- WA State Residential Landlord Tenant Act
How do you find them?
- Landlord Associations
- Low Income and Subsidized Housing lists
- Survivor Feedback: Where would survivors like to live? Who can you identify to connect with in those regions?
- Community Scan: use your friends, neighbors, professional organizations, religious communities, or fraternal organizations
Think about the best strategy:
- Friendly one-on-one conversations: grab a coffee, lunch, or a go for a walk
- Landlord-focused events:
- Host breakfast, lunch, or an early evening info session with snacks
- Attend a landlord association meeting—ask for a bit of time to present and bring dessert!
- Follow-up: friendly check-in calls or emails
- Thank yous: host a reception, present an agency award, gift bag, or gift basket
What talking points should you use?
- Futures Without Violence Fact Sheet
- Talk about prevalence:
- Example: 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the US experience rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner
- “You probably know someone who has experienced or witnessed….”
- What is domestic violence?
- A pattern of coercive power and control—includes physical, verbal, psychological, and/or emotional tactics
- How does it relate to homelessness?
- One of the leading causes of homelessness for women and children due to safety concerns and economic impacts
- What are some of the barriers and impacts survivors face?
- Discuss trauma barriers, as well as legal and economic barriers
- Talk about the benefits of working with survivors and your organization:
- Tell landlords about your role as a liaison between them and survivors, and about how you can help them work through concerns they may have or issues that may come up, such as if a tenant isn’t paying rent on time
How can we partner?
- Think about developing a county-wide or regional collaborative response, like All Home King County.
- Provide support for DV survivors who are tenants:
- Including advocacy and financial assistance for deposit or a few months’ rent
- Regularly contact landlords, ask them about unit openings, and let them know you are working with folks who will be great tenants
- Develop a damage mitigation fund
- Be sure to take pictures of unit at move in to compare with damages at a later date
- Let landlords know that you may be able to provide financial support for unit repairs prior to move in
It’s important to bring information and materials with you when you meet with landlords. Don’t forget to give landlords your contact information and leave the door open for further conversations and connections. Here are some examples of materials you could bring to help with your outreach efforts:
- Fact Sheets on Domestic Violence
- Your contact information and agency information
- Information on your regional domestic violence and housing/homeless partners
Remember: relationship building takes time. You might have to try different approaches for different landlords and face obstacles in trying to build outreach, but don’t give up!