Complaining About Your Landlord, the Social Media Way
Earlier today EV Grieve posted about a Twitter campaign against Jakobson Properties, which owns numerous buildings in the East Village (you've probably seen their no-fee ads around town and on Craigslist). This isn't a campaign to take down Jakobson, exactly, though "slum lord" is flying around on the Tumblr -- it's to keep them accountable for the various issues going on in the apartments, says the tenant who began the campaign. Anonymous for obvious reasons, he told us, "I'm actually a more atypical tenant: my apartment is nice, I like it, and I have not had a lot of problems. At the same time, ever since I moved in, I have heard all the horror stories from my neighbors. Then, recently, I've had a few bad experiences with the maintenance crew and started to see what everyone else was complaining about."
Enter complaining the modern way: Instead of picking up a phone, or spending a lot of time knocking on your landlord's door (if you even know where it is), this method depends on people tweeting about their issues, which will, hopefully, generate enough attention to shame Jakobson into better behavior. It's worked before, as we know, whether we're talking about offensive ad campaigns, sexist T-shirts, or, sometimes, people.
Says the tenant, "Given that Twitter as a medium to connect people, to provide a voice, has really gained a lot of momentum recently, especially with OWS, I realized it'd be a great way to rally the tenants together and hopefully get some results. We don't want to change the world. All we really want is for Jakobson to be a responsible landlord, to take care of leaks, water issues, etc. Right now they are doing the minimum they can get away with. They are willing to take fines rather than being proactive and preventing issues in the first place."
The tenant points out that this is also a way to virtually meet the neighbors, "especially if they (and you) only live in your building for a year and are out most of the night anyway. That's where I really see the potential for this: How can we connect with our communities to address the needs of the communities at a time when our local communities are more in flux than ever before?"
Flyers went up yesterday in Jakobson buildings, but are being taken down by maintenance crews, says the tenant, before people can see them. There's a plan in the works to print postcards and mail them to tenants, and possibly to get an in-person meeting together.
The tenant says, "If the first thing that pops up in Google when you search for 'Jakobson properties' is a long list of complaints, they will have to start paying attention. But right now it is more important to rally the tenants, to build momentum. Without that everything else is moot, so that's where our focus is right now."
Jakobson has yet to respond to the campaign on Twitter, though they seem to have addressed tenants that way previously.
@Jakobson_Fix_It says, "Actions speak stronger than words. Looking forward to seeing some improvements. We'll be the first to tweet successes, too." They tell us they'll keep on the case "until there are actual, tangible results."
Complain on Twitter using @Jakobson_Fix_It, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Taking to Twitter to Complain About the Landlord [EV Grieve]
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