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As April 1 Nears and Coronavirus Crisis Continues, Demand to #CancelRent Swells

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/03/29/april-1-nears-and-coronavirus-crisis-continues-demand-cancelrent-swells

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This is a result of America’s love affair with survival of the fittest and its belief in profiting on the backs of the sick and dying.

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For five years, my only income was the rent payments I received from two sets of tenants, one set upstairs and one set downstairs in my very modest house.

If they didn’t pay, I couldn’t pay my bills. Not every landlord is rich, folks.

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email I received from my landlord a couple of days age:

A Letter to our Residents
XXXXXXX, as manager of the community, and the Ownership Group continue to closely follow the developments concerning the outbreak of COVID-19 at the national, state and local level. We have continued to implement additional measures and to guide our onsite teams with regard to modified procedures. For the health and safety of our staff and residents, we will continue to operate in a similar manner until further notice. We thank you for your patience and continued cooperation. We are all working together.
April 1st will be upon us before we know it. We have followed the myriad efforts by the various governmental entities whose good intentions is to protect the economy. While the government has suspended evictions for a period of time, this unfortunately does not affect a resident’s lease in place or their obligation to pay rent.
Management groups are under an obligation per their agreements with Ownership groups to issue default notices, follow the normal eviction process and continue to timely file on those who choose not to pay their rent.
A common misconception is that properties and ownership groups are capable of sustaining losses during this downturn. There is a cascading effect that occurs when owners do not have enough money to meet payroll, pay property expenses, and service the mortgage. Reductions in service and quality are not changes we want to make. The goal is to continue to provide you the quality home we always have. To do so, we ask you to maintain your part of the rental agreement.
We are here to help you access resources to meet your rental obligation. Enclosed you will find a list of rental payment assistance groups who have and can help those in need. We are also working on plans that can facilitate other methods to access funds to make it easier for family and friends to help out. Even though our offices are closed physically, we are available virtually – please call, text or emails us. We will assist you as soon as possible.
The difficulties stemming from pandemic has spared no one. Please be mindful that our staff are trying to do the best they can in these unprecedented times. We share your same concerns and challenges. Please stay healthy and be kind to one another.

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One correction to the subtitle of this article:

Its NOT “thousands and thousands of people losing their income”, IT IS tens of millions.

Last week 3.3 million unemployment insurance (UI) claims were filed and it is safe to assume that at least 3.3 million gig workers and self employed people who are not covered by UI also lost their income. Therefore estimate last week’s damage at no less than 6.6 million losing income.

This week’s UI, gig worker, self employed stats are likely to be higher than last week’s numbers.

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With the huge bailouts provided to the banks and Wall Street I 2009, and now even larger to corporate interests today, I call for a moratorium on all loans, vehicle, student, mortgages, and rent. If corporations don’t have to pay their property rents (example: The Cheesecake Factory), then the little people shouldn’t either. I guess I really am a socialist.

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Meanwhile, the Trump administration is taking measures in the opposite direction, for example, their recent decision aimed at taking land from the Wampanoag Nation.

^https://mashpeewampanoagtribe-nsn.gov/news/2020/3/27/message-from-the-chairman-we-will-take-action-to-prevent-the-loss-of-our-land

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This is true. It’s also true that due to financialization of so many rents will cause the stock market to crash.

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Wow, that email and $5 will buy you a overpriced cup of coffee at Starbucks.

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I believe Scotland today just issued a decree to prevent any evictions during this time:

~https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/16/labour-calls-for-ban-on-evictions-of-tenants-affected-by-covid-19

Evictions set for ban in Scotland

Sturgeon also said the Scottish parliament would meet for one day this week to consider and, she hopes, pass emergency legislation specifically for Scotland.

This would include legislation to ensure no one can be evicted during the coronavirus crisis.

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So true! My home is paid for and I am collecting payments on another home I sold a few years ago and so many consider me wealthy, but even though it will be a hardship I will be willing to defer my tenants payments.

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I have managed various enterprises (which included rental real estate from 1974 to 2002) for nearly half a century and have always maintained 120-150 days reserve for personal and business finances, primarily to survive business cycle variations and crisis.

Unfortunately the financialization of nearly everything in Murka during the past 4 decades created a paradigm that demands return on investment that is not only unsustainable but guarantees that even a minor downturn tanks the economy. The financial community considers reserves to be soooo 20th century and that thinking and practice will require unprecedented taxpayer funded bailouts for the 1% that will set the 99% further back.

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All the more reason that before you buy a new smart phone, before you get a new car, before you get a wide screen TV, before you get a $5 cup of coffee, before you decide to go on vacation, before you buy $300 sneakers, before you splurge on ANYTHING, have (and maintain) at least 3 months of funds available to cover your family’s living expenses - then things like this will be a lot less of an issue. I believe 90% (or more) of the population could accomplish this within a year. Living paycheck to paycheck is and always will be a prescription for disaster in any kind of downturn

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That is what this so-called stimulus package is all about! To keep it propped up before it crashes. Like my Nephew who is a CEO of a major corporation and claims he has lost over $2,000,000.00 dollars already and is in the process of sheltering his funds before the coming market crash.

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Greed is indeed the primary sin of Capitalism, but Envy is its counterpart in Socialism. The remainder of the 7 Deadly Sins, Lust, Gluttony, Laziness,Pride and Hate seem to be rather equally distributed.

Capitalism is teetering on collapse. In low income communities, I’m seeing community groups advancing alternative economic structures such as community currency, time-banking, no-wage production and no-cost products, and mutual aid. Perhaps we can work towards landlords, in situations such as yours, switching to alternative sources of resources in order to reduce the need to pay bills.

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I’m a contractor. My client/employer fired three people (out of 62) and reduced pay be 20% for everyone else. So please remember to include that in the “losing their income” equation.

Everyone that gets one of those landlord letters needs to send a copy to their mayor and governor. Meanwhile, tenants need to organize, even by passing notes and petitions around and exchanging phone/email contacts.

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Parasitism has its risks but small landlords can work with tenants.

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Here we go again. only weeks ago all these people overwhelmingly voted neoliberal, now the same neoliberals cry out for their elected representatives to make a decision that involves people not paying money to big business. No decision will ever ever be made by a neoliberal president that directly harms business, any business, in favor of the public good. You may as well ask them to become democratic socialists. Why do they think it is that economic stimulus gives the lion share to big business, why it is the proletariat who will pay for it, why no rent cancellation is in the works. This is the government we have forced upon ourselves, our adamant choice, not some sort of mistake but a willful deliberate choice.

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