History of Vernon House

Built on a Bluff
Vernon House (VH) is built above Greene Street on a bluff. The land was formerly the site of a mansion, one of many grand houses in what is known as the Pehlam section of Mt Airy. The mansion was torn down in 1929 and VH construction started the same year.

History of the Rent Strike: A Co-op Born
Until the 1970s, VH was a landlord-owned apartment building.

In the spring of 1974, tenant complaints about inadequate heat, hot water, and safety at VH were met with indifference by the landlord.  With the help of the Northwest Tenants Association, the residents organized a rent strike, and rent money was placed in an escrow bank account.

In time, the owners filed for tenant eviction and a court hearing was held. The judge found for the tenants. The landlord then defaulted on the mortgage and the building became available at a sheriff sale. Germantown Homes, together with Quaker organizations and several individuals, bought the property. 

Vernon House repaid the lenders and under Pennsylvania law is incorporated as a Limited Equity Co-op, member-owned
and -operated.