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Housing Call: July 9, 2024

Special Topic: Reacting to the National Tenant Bill of Rights – A NC Perspective from NCTU ED Nick Macleod

On June 25, the National Low Income Housing Coalition, National Housing Law Project, and Tenant Union Federation released a comprehensive National Tenants Bill of Rights that aims to shift the balance of power between tenants and landlords, redress long-standing racial and social inequities, and advance housing justice. The bill of rights has seven components:

  • The right to A Fair Application
  • The right to A Fair Lease
  • The right to Freedom from Discrimination and Harassment
  • The right to a Habitable Home
  • The right to Reasonable Rent and Costs
  • The right to Organize
  • The right to Safeguards Against Evictions

Factsheet on the 2024 National Tenants Bill of Rights

Section Summaries of the 2024 National Tenants Bill of Rights

Full Text of the 2024 National Tenants Bill of Rights

This week we have Nick MacLeod, the Executive Director of the North Carolina Tenants Union, here to talk to us about his initial reactions to this tool, how North Carolina could use the elements in this resource, as well as to provide a mini-update on what is happening on the organizing front for NCTU.

Nick MacLeod – has been organizing with tenants for the past fifteen years and hopes to for the next thirty. He is the Executive Director of the North Carolina Tenants Union, which has local unions in Asheville, Winston-Salem, Charlotte, Raleigh & Durham, New Bern and Wilmington. Before launching NCTU in April 2024, Nick was the Organizing Director at the NC Housing Coalition, where he spent the past four years working with tenants across the state to build their local unions and to come together to build the statewide union. Nick is originally from New York and learned to organize at Make the Road NY, where he organized tenant unions on Staten Island. After moving to Durham, NC in 2017, Nick joined the organizing & capacity building team at the Center for Popular Democracy where he coached and strengthened community organizing shops across the country.


  1. Tell us a bit about NCTU (refresher) and give us a mini-update on the latest on the organizing front with NCTU, how are things going?

The core of our work is building durable, powerful organizations with tenants so that they can assert their rights. Often this is focused around things like – winning critical repairs, stopping rent gouging, stopping mass displacement. We’re also engaged in a lot of policy fights, mostly at the municipal level – which is where a lot of action is happening and where we have the most direct contact with tenants and officials so it makes sense to be working at that level.

Here are some examples –

Residents at Healy Towers – about 45 residents had a meeting with the Mayor – committed to a lot of the oversight matters like maintenance and staffing for their building that they wanted to see for their building. They have until the end of the month, but for now are cautiously optimistic.

Another example -we’ve been organizing with folks in mobile home parks outside of Gaston County close to Charlotte. One of the pressing issues they’ve faced recently is aggressive towing – where residents were having their cars towed from Gastonia to Spartanburg, and when residents would go to retrieve their car – they would be told they owe $2000, and if they couldn’t pay they had to surrender the title to their vehicle. And as of a few weeks ago, tenants that organized managed to successfully get their landlord to cancel the contract with that towing company. They are now in a process of gearing up for broader negotiations and having a collective lease that says rather than the landlord unilaterally deciding on rules around cars and other neighborhood components, having some process of negotiation between the landlord and tenants.


  1. What are your thoughts on the recently released Tenant Bill of Rights from the National Housing Law Project, National Tenants Union and NLIHC? What are the pros and cons of this tool?

Initial thoughts on this tool – say we were to implement this tomorrow, this would fundamentally shift a lot of things. It would be a major improvement. AND – some of the things that they have in this document are rights that tenants think they have already constantly, because they are so basic

Like I should be able to have a clear lease that tells me the terms of this tenancy

Or if my landlord is not providing the core services they say they will provide then I can protest that and they broke the contract so I can withhold rent which you can’t do in North Carolina

So this speaks to the urgency of it – but also the basic nature / intuitiveness of these rights.

There’s something very helpful about enumerating these rights and making them very clear.

Potential con – not about the document itself – is how do we get there?

One of the things that I appreciate about the document is all the protections around the right to organize, which will be critical for the path to seeing these things implemented.


  1. How could North Carolina use or benefit from something like the TBOR?          

North Carolina could benefit from this in so many ways. There’s a lot of good protections in this document around the right to organize. Which would shift things in North Carolina considerably.

One of the ways that things would shift in NC because of this  – is right now in state law – there is a protection against retaliatory eviction but ONLY if the landlord does not have another reason to evict you. And in a state where there aren’t “Good Cause eviction” policies the landlord can evict you without having just cause, they can use a reason that they believe to be true to evict people from a property. For example – it would be quite easy for an unscrupulous landlord to allege that too many people live in this unit… when in reality it was simply a cookout. Or if the same landlord alleges that something illegal is happening, there is an entire process to prove that, but tenants can be evicted based on that alleged accusation alone.

The shift in the power dynamic – in just allowing for basic protections against retaliation and discrimination as well as ability to organize would go a long way in North Carolina.

Want to engage more with the NC Tenants Union?

Visit their website: or email Nick MacLeod at

NEXT WEEK – July 16 we will have representatives from NLIHC to talk about their process developing this tool with other national partners, and provide updates on the federal housing front.


Federal Updates

​​House Republicans Unveil Proposal to Cut Key Housing Investments | At the end of June, the U.S House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriations released their FY2025 draft THUD (Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development) spending bill. The bill proposes funding HUD at $73.2 billion, this means a 3% or $2.3 billion cut to HUD’s critical affordable housing, homelessness, and community development programs from the previous year’s funding level.

Here is a budget chart breakdown from NLIHC of the FY25 House proposal.

The proposal was drafted to align with the rules in the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 (FRA) which restricted funding in FY24 and limits FY25 increases to just 1%. However, congressional leaders reached an agreement to provide an additional $69 billion over amounts allowed by the FRA. These additional funds were not included in the FY25 proposals released by the House.


State Updates

Reminder that the NC General Assembly recently adjourned their 2023-2024 short session. They did not manage to pass a budget adjustment that would address the state’s $1 billion budget surplus for the fiscal year that began on July 1, 2024.

They adjourned the 2023-2024 regular legislative session on Friday June 28, 2024, and in their adjournment resolution included the following details about future convenings as well as matters that they are open to considering for the remainder of the year. Here are the dates listed in the adjournment resolution.

July 10, 2024

July 29, 2024 to August 1, 2024

September 9, 2024 – September 11, 2024

October 9, 2024

November 19, 2024 – November 22, 2024

December 11, 2024 – December 13, 2024


Local Updates 

  • Driftwood apartments for people experiencing chronic homelessness to reopen July 25 | In Wilmington, NC, a 15-unit apartment complex is reopening on July 25 and will offer supportive housing to people with disabilities who have experienced chronic homelessness. This property was built in 2003 using funding from the NCHFA. At the end of its affordability period, there was consideration of converting the units to market rate. Thanks to a $700,000 forgivable loan from the City of Wilmington’s affordable housing program, Cape Fear Collective successfully rehabilitated the project.
  • First tenants move into Bertie County Schools workforce housing • NC Newsline | Last week the first tenants of a new 24 uni housing complex for public school and local government employees in Bertie County moved into their new homes. This project is part of the effort to recruit and retain effective teachers, Bertie County had the second highest attrition rate – 25.8% – during the 2021-2022 School year.
  • Amid housing crisis, a U of A alum is turning a Fayetteville motel into an affordable housing complex | City of Fayetteville Council Members recently voted to rezone an area from commercial zone to a community services zone which is allowing for the former motel to be remodeled. The plan is to call the property The Nest and for it to include 105 rooms that will be converted into studio apartments for those in need of affordable housing. They aim to begin leasing units by October of this year.
  • New Hanover Community Endowment shares affordable housing strategy at public meeting | At the end of June, the New Hanover Community Endowment Board communicated their affordable housing strategy. They recently announced a $19 million dollar investment in affordable housing for their area. Leadership stated that affordable housing is one of their top priorities – and that their initiative would focus on three key areas – capital, production, and stabilization.


Reports & Resources



the 2024 WNC Regional Housing Forum! Join us for a day filled with insightful discussions and networking opportunities focused on housing in the Western North Carolina region. This year we are focusing on resident retention strategies (keeping current residents in their homes), community development, and opportunities for small and rural communities. (Agenda distributed shortly)

The event will take place on Friday, Aug 09, starting at 9 AM (doors at 8:30) at the Blue Ridge Conference Hall in Flat Rock. Don’t miss out on this chance to connect with industry professionals and learn about the latest trends in housing. See you there!


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