Tracy Rosenthal and Leonardo Vilchis

Haymarket Books (24 September 2024)

Trade paper • ISBN-13:   9798888902523 • US $19.95 • 5 in x 8 in • 224 pgs.


Both a forceful polemic and a practical guide, Abolish Rent takes aim at one of the foremost engines of inequality and injustice.

Rent is a wealth transfer from the poorest to the richest, the most vulnerable to the least, a monthly tribute that drives millions to debt, despair, and into the streets. In the context of a permanent housing crisis and governments in the pocket of real estate interests, Abolish Rent reorients the politics of housing around tenants themselves: political actors who can, through organizing, direct action, and collective bargaining, bring about a housing system that meets their needs. 

Abolish Rent is the first book-length engagement with the resurgent tenant movement. Authors Tracy Rosenthal and Leonardo Vilchis—cofounders of Los Angles’s many thousand member tenant union—offer a deeply-reported account centering poor and working class tenants who are fighting back, staying put, and remaking the city in the process. They take us to trilingual strategy meetings, raucous marches against gentrification, and daring eviction defenses where immigrants put their lives on the line. 

If rent abolition is our aim, tenant power must be the means—built through everyday resistance in our buildings and on our blocks. This is the revolutionary project we need to make our housing, our cities, and the world our home.


Tracy Rosenthal is a writer and co-founder of the L.A. Tenants Union. Their work has been published in The New Republic, The Nation and The LA Times among others. They serve on the advisory board of Housing the Third Reconstruction with UCLA’s Institute on Inequality and Democracy. They are now on rent strike in New York City.

Leonardo Vilchis has been organizing tenants in Boyle Heights for more than thirty years. Trained in liberation theology, he co-founded Union de Vecinos in 1996 to stop the demolition of the Pico Aliso public housing projects, winning the right of return for two hundred and fifty families. In 2015, he co-founded the L.A. Tenants Union to organize tenant power at a citywide scale. Merging with LATU in 2019 to form the Union de Vecinos Eastside Local, Union de Vecinos has maintained a leadership role defending the long-term community against gentrification and displacement. Vilchis was activist-in-residence at the UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy in 2020 and now serves on the advisory board of its Housing the Third Reconstruction research endeavor. He lives in Los Angeles. 


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