Coronavirus: Threatening Letter From Landlord Demanding Rent Backfires

Ted S. Warren/AP Photo

Duane Townsend

MSN - April 2, 2020

Leading up to rent day on April 1, some workers around the country called for rent strikes amid the coronavirus epidemic, which has led to reduced working hours, furloughs, and layoffs.

Ten million workers have filed for unemployment in the past two weeks, a record since the government began collecting the data in 1967.

Saturn Management, a property-management company in Los Angeles, tried to stem a strike Tuesday, telling its tenants by email that they are still required to pay rent.

But the message backfired: Instead of being sent as a blind carbon copy, or BCC, to each tenant -- which would keep them anonymous from each other -- the email was sent to the group collectively.

It meant that 300 tenants all had each other's contact information, according to Curbed, which first reported the story. The email chain offered a venue for them to complain about health and safety issues across the 24 properties.

"I'm just throwing out there-RENT STRIKE," wrote Roberto Torres, a tenant in a westside Los Angeles apartment.

And now the tenants have started organizing a rent strike, which could begin in May. They're communicating in group chats and on a shared document where they collect further complaints about the properties.

Related video: California nonprofit calls for statewide rent strike (provided by KTXL-TV Sacramento)

COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has prompted some public officials to call for measures that guarantee that tenants will not be evicted. California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an injunction last week preventing all eviction action through May 31. A handful of cities and states across the country have issued temporary eviction bans.

But tenants must still pay rent and are required to show documentation showing that they've been impacted by the pandemic to prevent eviction, according to Curbed. Saturn Management's email informed tenants that the state-wide moratorium "only delays an eviction," according to one tenant's social media post. ...
Read full report at MSN

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