SPOKANE, Wash. – The Tenants Union of Washington State in Spokane held a community meeting and barbecue in downtown Spokane Tuesday night to discuss ways to protect tenants against rent increases and unfair living conditions.

The tenants hope that by coming together, they can spark change in they describe as little protection for renters in the area.

“Many times when you are a tenant you can feel very isolated and you have a real power imbalance with your landlord,” Tenants Union of Washington State executive director Terri Anderson said Tuesday. “Sometimes the only information they get is from their landlord.

“So when they come to events like this not only do they learn about what's happening in other housing but they also learn what kind of housing is available in Spokane such as section 8 HUD buildings or tax credit buildings that might provide some affordability for tenants,” Anderson said.

The Tenants Union in Spokane is pushing for Spokane and cities alike to pass updated protections for their local renters. Washington State as a whole has seen minimal updates in protection for tenants since the Residential Landlord Tenant Act, which passed more than 40 years ago.

The issue of rent increases and unfair living conditions received significant attention in Spokane after KREM 2 broke a story on Westview Manor apartments nearly doubling rent fees next month.