Dubuque Renters’ Union

Problems with your landlord?

Evicted? Refused repairs? Unsafe conditions? Deposit denied? Rent hikes? Every day someone gets cheated by an abusive landlord who take tenants’ money but never does maintenance. 

Don’t let your landlord step on you. Join us!

The Dubuque Renters’ Union is a volunteer network of renters who defend our rights through collective action and mutual support. 

Alone, we are weak; organized, we can win!

Dubuque Renters’ Union members will help you defeat evictions, get deposits back, get important repairs done, and make slumlords pay. 

Find out when fellow tenants are taking action and need you to be there.

Leave your name, number, and email at http://bit.ly/DRU-Member. Are you a homeowner who wants to support renters’ rights? Leave your name, number, and email at http://bit.ly/DRU-Ally. Before applying, we encourage you to review the Dubuque Renters’ Union Bylaws: bit.ly/DRU-Bylaws

Phone: (563) 845-2858
Email: dbq.renters.union@gmail.com
Facebook: @DBQRenters

The Dubuque Renters’ Union is a mutual aid and organizing network for renters in Dubuque. We stand together to fight for tenants’ rights.

For legal advice, contact Iowa Legal Aid at (800) 532-1275.



What services can the union offer to renters?

  • Photograph and document the state of your apartment or house when you move in. This provides you with a permanent record, which you can use to justify the return of your security deposit when you move out. Landlords are not allowed to deduct repair costs for normal wear and tear on a unit, but you need documentation to prove that wear and tear was normal and not excessive. We provide you with a copy of the files and we store a secured backup copy for later use. 
  • Print, deliver, and keep on record any letters you need to send to your landlord, such as letters demanding repairs. It is better to have a third-party (such as one of our union representatives) hand deliver letters, since they can then attest to delivery in court, if need be.
  • Connect you up with legal representation and provide free transportation if you need it.
  • Engage in direct action against landlords who don’t respect their tenants’ rights. This can include picketing outside their business office or home. We have a large group of people who are members of our solidarity network; they are willing to show up where we need them and when we need them.
  • Help you create a renters’ association for the tenants living in a single complex. If you live in an apartment building, it can be very useful for everyone in the building to form an association, both for purposes of resolving concerns among one another and for collectively taking concerns to your landlord. This is your legal right; your landlord cannot retaliate against you for organizing. 

Why do renters need to unionize?

  • The landlords in Dubuque are organized; renters should be as well. Landlords in the area can be members of the Dubuque Area Landlords Association (DALA). They understand that they can more effectively advance their interests by allying with one another. We can too!
  • The interests of landlords are at odds with the interests of renters. Renters want affordable and safe housing. Landlords want to raise rents as high as possible. The Dubuque Landlords Association is very explicit about this fact. On their website, they say that “a full house in poker is a good hand, but a full house in the rental business may mean your rents are too low.” 
  • Renters need to stand in solidarity with one another and advocate their class interests. We know what our needs and interests are. We cannot rely on the goodwill of our landlords or well-meaning folks in power (who themselves are often members of the owning class).

For more information about how and why we are pursuing solidarity organizing for renters’ rights, read Christine Darr’s post, “Housing Solidarity in Dubuque.”

Who can be part of the union?

  • Anyone who pays rent to a landlord can be a member.
  • People who don’t pay rent but aren’t landlords may be allies within the union.
  • No landlords or spouses of landlords can be members.

Who is in charge of the union?

  • DRU is a democratically structured, member-run solidarity network.
  • We have three elected officers: Indigo C., Chair; Kalee K., Vice Chair; and Bri M., Secretary-Treasurer.

Can my landlord retaliate against me if I join a union?

  • No! Iowa law prevents a landlord from retaliating against tenants who are members of a renters union or association.

Where can I find out about my legal rights as a renter?