The end of the month is approaching rapidly, somehow, after the month of March lasted eons, and that means rent is going to be due again. As you know, millions of people have been laid off, only some have received their measly $1200 from the government, and many are being denied unemployment for no discernable reason, if they can even get onto the website or through the phone lines long enough to apply.
I am thankfully in a good position. Though my secondary freelance client had to delay giving out assignments, my primary client asked me to do more work following the start of the pandemic, and my partner will likely be able to go back to work or at least get unemployment payments soon. Plus I got my stimulus payment pretty quickly for some reason.
Regardless, we will be participating in a national rent strike starting on May 1 in solidarity with people who can't pay and also because rent is too high and fuck landlords. This is also made easier by the fact that we have family we can stay with if we do get evicted, though there are still risks of this making it much more difficult to rent in the future. There's an eviction moratorium in Washington State right now, plus charging fees for late payment is prohibited until early June, so that helps, but we could still be evicted in the future.
I lay out these risks in case others reading are also thinking about taking part in a rent strike. If you are, there are a lot of resources and support networks out there right now that can help you get through it, access legal information, and organize with your neighbors. If you can, organizing your entire apartment complex is the best way to do a rent strike, but that's just too much stress for me and my partner right now, so don't feel bad if you can't manage it either. Talking to strangers is hard.
Anyway, here are some of those resources I mentioned:
A list of local rent strike Facebook groups.
A form you can fill out if you want to organize a rent strike and need help.
Online rent strike organizing event for Seattle.
International rent strike webinar.
Tenant Protections Map showing where rent strikes are being organized, plus additional resources.
Rebel Steps podcast episode with step-by-step rent strike organizing guide.
There's plenty more to find out there if you look. If you do strike and your landlord threatens you with eviction or other forms of retaliation, let one of these organizations know. There is a very good chance that landlord retaliation right now is illegal, and at the very least, public shaming has proved to be very effective.
Good luck. You have nothing to lose but your chains.