TENAC is a non-profit, public service organization dedicated exclusively to tenant interests, tenant rights, and support for rent control in the District of Columbia. We are the only city-wide tenants organization, and we represent all tenants in the District of Columbia.

As a legal successor to the Tenants' Organizations Political Action Committee (TOPAC), we have been serving tenants for almost 15 years. TENAC's mission is to assist tenants through education, legal information, and lobbying for tenant legislation- especially affordable housing and tenants' rights. TENAC prepares legislative proposals on behalf of tenants, and testifies frequently before the City Council on matters of vital interest to tenants. Of critical importance is TENAC's HOTLINE (202) 288-1921, which answers landlord/tenant questions, and TENAC's role in helping tenants to form tenant associations throughout the city.

TENAC believes that tenants in unorganized rental buildings are open for abuse by landlords, rental agents, and owners. We will not rest until we see a tenants' association in every rental building in the city.

Jai Shankar Free at Last! Free at Last! Thank God Almighty -- Free at Last!



The joy that Martin Luther King rang out for a whole nation and a whole people, with his “Free At Last” cry, echoing the old Negro spiritual, in the historic 1963 March, rang true for a single soul as well. He is Jai Shankar, an Indian National -- cruelly detained and hobbled by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities, for several years, as are countless Latinos today - - never mind the extraordinary number of Jai’s and Latino good works as model immigrants in American society in general, and for the betterment of DC as well. Jai has worked his heart out in this city. As a TENAC volunteer, Jai has helped disabled tenants, done chores for elderly tenants, helped those facing eviction, and collected and given free food to the homeless, and all without any compensation whatsoever.

TENAC Chairman Endorses Tom Brown

Since TENAC could not schedule a candidates' forum for this election, we are making no organizational endorsements.

A great many of you, however, have asked me which candidates have my personal endorsement, and I am glad to comply with that. My list is very short.

For Ward 7, I strongly endorse Tom Brown. He is an outstanding candidate against Yvette Alexander, who has turned out to be a great disappointment, notably on her derailment of the nomination of Betty Noel, the people's choice, to the District Public Service Commission (PSC).

We are also very disappointed in Ward 4's Muriel Bowser for the same reason, but I do not know her opposition well enough to personally decide.

We are also lobbying the Mayor to resubmit Betty Noel's name for the PSC in light of Councilmember Phil Mendelson's vote against her, which was a clear conflict of interest in light of his ownership of significant PEPCO stock. He clearly should have recused himself on that vote. We kindly ask and strongly urge you to assist in this lobbying effort by contacting the Mayor's office on Betty Noel's behalf.

Free Betty Noel IV

Democracy, decency, and integrity all took body blows on March 15, when a Council Committee voted down Betty Noel’s nomination to the D.C. Public Service Commission (PSC). This carefully rehearsed synchronized ploy became a legislative steamroller run by Committee Chair Alexander, who brooked no dissent, including the democratic process itself. Surely a nominee of such extraordinary distinction should at least have had an up or down vote by the full Council. Ms. Alexander would have none of it, however, waving off Councilmember Cheh’s motion with dismissive disdain. What on earth were they afraid of? Democracy in action? What followed was even worse – a stream of venomous condescension from all three Noel opponents, reaching its apex in Councilmember Mendelson’s vitriol against this outstanding nominee. Mr. Mendelson attempted to mask his broadside against Ms. Noel, as some kind of painful “vote of conscience.” What came through of course was “personal pique and pre-arrangement” with Ms. Alexander. What also came through was the crushing of affordable housing and tenant rights mashed by that same Alexander-driven steamroller.

Again We Say Free Betty Noel

The D.C. Council seems to be setting a world’s record deliberating on one of the finest candidates ever nominated for a high Executive Branch position by any mayor of this city: Mayor Vincent Gray’s nomination of Elizabeth Noel for a seat on the D.C. Public Service Commission.

One rumor circulated on the Council is that Ms. Noel is “unfriendly” to consumer interests. That is not only a total red herring, probably circulated by PEPCO, but ludicrous on its face. In fact, Ms. Noel is a consumer rights champion, and because she has valiantly fought utility-rate gouging, the only reason housing costs here – rental and other – have not gone through the roof. That is the ultimate in consumer support. She is a regulator who knows how important affordable housing is in this city. A vote against Betty Noel is a vote for the entrenched status quo – rapacious housing cost increases – rapidly making the city unaffordable and driving the poor out. Every tenant in this city has a vital interest in having Betty Noel named to the D.C. Public Service Commission. We urge you to make that view known to the Council at once.

Free Betty Noel! Council Stop Dithering

The D.C. Council seems to be setting a world’s record deliberating on one of the finest candidates ever nominated for a high Executive Branch position by any mayor of this city: Mayor Vincent Gray’s nomination of Elizabeth Noel for a seat on the D.C. Public Service Commission.

Christmas Is Over, But the Spirit of Noel Continues!

The “Noel Spirit” of course refers to Elizabeth Noel, Mayor Grey’s outstanding nominee for a seat on the District Public Service Commission (PSC). The merits of that appointment are so compelling and overwhelming, TENAC finds it difficult to understand why it is still pending. Support for Betty Noel among tenants in this city, the overwhelming majority of its residents (66%), is overwhelming. We believe she is the best nominee for executive branch service nominated by any mayor in many years.

Nothing attests to that fact more than her personal and professional qualities – a brilliant legal intelligence married to ethics, honesty and decency of the highest order, and all of it demonstrated in commitment and dedication to public service – exemplified best in her illustrious 25-year career as People’s Counsel for the District of Columbia.

Free Betty Noel III!

For reasons best known to the Delphic Oracle, the D.C. Council has refused to vote or even schedule a vote on the nomination of Betty Noel, one of the finest public servants in this city’s history to the D.C. Public Service Commission. That oversight is as inexcusable as it is incomprehensible. In nominating Noel, the mayor struck a blow for the utmost in quality, excellence, integrity, commitment and service. In Betty Noel he found all of those qualities in abundance as well as a figure to rekindle hope and pride in his administration.  


Dear Tenants and Friends,
Regrettably, we must cancel the March 7 TENAC Meeting, due to illness in the ranks, especially our Chairman Jim McGrath's orthopedic disability. He is facing back surgery, to take place at New England Baptist Hospital in Boston, world renowned for lower back surgery, where Sen. Edward Kennedy's back was repaired, and plans to convalesce a while with his family there. Accordingly, there will be no TENAC Board Meeting on March 7, but we look forward to gathering with all of you again in May and also in the interim to push vigorously for the rent reforms that TENAC, with so many of our superb members, have helped outline before Councilmember Michael Brown. Councilmember Brown plans to introduce the legislation we hope and expect to have significant impact in crafting.


Due to circumstances beyond our control - - a flu epidemic which has stricken several of our top staffers and the orthopedic disabliity ofour chairman, Jim McGrath, who faces lower back surgery - - the 2012 TENAC Candidates Forum scheduled on March 7 is regrettably canceled.We are urging TENAC members to attend other forums and carefully monitor candidates positions on the vital issues of Rent Control, TenantsRights and Affordable Housing, and we look forward to positive results on all those issues in the responses and actions of the candidates.Best wishes,  Sincerely, Jim McGrathChairmanTENAC


 Come hear ACLU Director Johnny Barnes, D.C. Councilmembers and Others in Opposition to Unjust Immigration Laws like "Secure Communities."  TENAC's Own Jay Shankar Will Tell His Story.  Attend TENAC's Wed., Jan. 4th Meeting, 6:30 - 8:30 PM, Sumner School, 17th & M Streets, NW.  The meeting will also be an In Memoriam to Pearl Perry, TENAC Board Member, and Include a Discussion on Proposed Rent Control Reforms. Click for meeting agenda  Free Jay Shankar! TENAC's Own is Emblem and Victim of Racial Profiling and Unjust Immigration Laws.  Click for details and flyer

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