Last week we identified a potential rent strike brewing among the working poor in New York City. Many of these folks are planning to skip out on May 01's rent payment to their landlords:
"With so many New Yorkers unable to pay rent for the foreseeable future, the current crisis is unsustainable and demands action," Housing Justice for All and New York Communities for Change said in a recent statement. "Many tenants have no ability to pay rent, and landlords can't collect rent from tenants who are broke."
Lena Melendez, a rent strike activist, said landlords "have gotten taken care of" by the government, suggesting that poor people who are quarantined in their apartments or homes do not need to pay rent because they have no money.
And of course, the virus pandemic, triggering mass quarantines and economic depression, has exposed America's second housing crisis. We recently noted that as many as 30% of Americans with home loans – about 15 million households – could stop paying if lockdowns continued through summer.
What's more important at the moment is that landlords expecting May's rent next week could be for a rude awakening. Mostly because "rent strike" searches across the internet have exploded in April.
Many of the searches surged in Oregon, New York, Washington, Colorado, and Vermont.
When it comes to subregions, Monterey-Salinas, California; Boise, Idaho; Lansing, Michigan; Savannah, Georgia; and Lexington, Kentucky, saw increased "rent strike" searches over the month.
And so it begins? Rent strikes across America? Or maybe at least starting in New York City first?