Rent Strikes Launching Around the World May 1

Organizers calling for the cancellation of rent are taking to digital platforms to get the word out about the action, where tenants will withhold some or all of their rent until their conditions are met.

Artwork by Blanco Tsagaan via Just Seeds

Tenant groups across the U.S. and beyond are working on pulling off a wave of autonomous rent strikes beginning Friday, May 1. Organizers calling for the cancellation of rent are taking to digital platforms to get the word out about the actions, where tenants will withhold some or all of their rent until their conditions are met. National organizations that are calling for rent cancellation are supporting tenants who have decided to strike, however, a rent strike is a tactic, not the demand, they say, and the action won’t make sense everywhere. [We’ll be writing more about this soon. Stay tuned.]

We’ve been seeing the video below make the rounds on Twitter and elsewhere. And it’s well done, but we do have to point out that the GSEs have not required that mortgage payments be moved to the end of a loan. Under the CARES Act, most homeowners are able to defer their mortgage payments for up to 12 months. At the end of the deferment period, property owners will owe their lender all those deferred payments in one lump sum unless the loan is modified, which is why Joseph Sant is calling for a large-scale, proactive modification in this Shelterforce piece.)

Calls for the May 1 rent strikes are getting some media play—on NBC, Philadelphia Inquirer, The Huffington Post, Politico, Seattle Times, The New Republic, and many others. This piece from Vice, shared by Tara Raghuveer, focuses on New York.

The piece below by It’s Going Down is extremely detailed and definitely worth a read. 

“It’s not that I don’t want to pay rent. It’s simply that I can’t pay rent,” a person tells the New York Daily News.

We’re seeing activity in major cities like Portland, Oregon:

New York City (of course):

Philadelphia:

Minneapolis:

Los Angeles:

And in states like New Jersey:

And like the COVID-19 pandemic, the movement extends far beyond the U.S.’s borders. We’re seeing activity in Canada:

And overseas in London:

And we’re seeing great pieces of art coming out of this movement.

Yes, it worked:

We’re seeing tenants reach out for help:

And organizers getting tenants the information they need. 

People are sharing examples of what other countries are doing, hoping that something similar can be done in the U.S.

And, as expected, there have been increased calls to pass Rep. Ilhan Omar’s proposed bill, which Shelterforce breaks down here. The bill would release tenants and homeowners from housing payments until the national emergency is lifted, and would make up the losses to landlords and lenders through a federal fund. 

We’ll continue to follow this story as it develops, and bring you other voices in the movement to cancel rent. See all our COVID-19-related articles here. 

1 COMMENT

  1. As a long time housing activist and organizer I am happy to see these messages. They represent a coming together of grassroots movements from around the world to deliver a message to corporations and governments to “put people first”! Another World is Possible!

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