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'We can't stay idle': tenants promise to go on strike and not pay housing because of coronavirus

Due to the fact that millions of people suddenly lost their jobs, some tenants promise to go on strike until the coronavirus pandemic subsides. Writes about this USA Today.

Photo: Shutterstock

New York, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and St. Louis are among the many cities that have temporarily banned evictions, but strike supporters require rental payments to be canceled rather than rescheduled. The idea of ​​a strike is rooted in parts of North America and even in London.

White sheets hang in the windows of apartments to show solidarity with the movement, which is gaining popularity on Twitter, Instagram and other social networks. Leaflets urging people to attend are located in several cities, including at bus stops in St. Louis, where 27-year-old Kyle Cofron is still working at an ice cream factory, but his three roommates unexpectedly were unemployed. According to Kofron, the house manager has not yet approved the new payment plan.

“For me personally, when everyone loses their jobs and cannot pay, this is the only thing we can do,” Kofron said of the strike. “We just can't do nothing.”

Orders of isolation and strict restrictions force shops, restaurants and bars to close indefinitely. Many service workers who find themselves unemployed live in better times from paycheck to paycheck. Now many say that they do not have money to pay rent.

On the subject: Coronavirus pandemic: still unanswered questions

Some politicians expressed support, if not directly to the strike, then a moratorium on temporary deferral of rent.

New York State was the most affected by the coronavirus. Senator Mike Gianaris of Queens has introduced a bill that will forgive rents and mortgage payments within 90 days for people and small businesses affected by coronavirus.

“Tenants cannot pay rent if they cannot earn a living. Let's cancel the rent (#CancelRent) for 90 days to keep people in their homes during the #coronavirus crisis, ”Janaris wrote on Twitter.

Supporters of the strike do not wait for legislative approval. Activist organizations incite to strike. A group called Rent Strike 2020 operates nationally.

“Our requirements for each governor in every state are extremely simple: freeze rent, mortgage, and utility bills for 2 months,” says Rent Strike 2020 website.

Activists in St. Louis are encouraging those who can afford to rent to join the movement in solidarity with those who cannot. Landlords simply cannot evict strikers if there are a lot of them, said For The People STL Chris Winston.

Others say a strike could worsen the economy even further if property owners and property managers themselves are forced to default.

The consequences of a rental strike

Matthew Chase, an eviction lawyer in St. Louis County, said management companies and homeowners have employees who pay utility bills and other expenses. A widespread strike can force them to fire their workers, reduce maintenance costs, or even close housing complexes.

On the subject: Social distance: coronavirus particles may spread further than anticipated

Nick Casoff, who lives in a suburb of St. Louis Ferguson, calls himself a "petty landlord." He warned everyone who refused to pay the rent.

“Courts are closed, but they will not be closed forever,” Kasoff wrote on Facebook. - If you decide not to pay the rent, your landlord will file an eviction lawsuit on the day they open. You will lose your home, ruin your credit history and make it difficult to get any decent housing in the future. "A rental strike does not eliminate capitalism and does not make you a homeowner, but destroys your credit rating and makes you homeless."

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