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Berlin Housing Rights Conference Demands Immediate Socialization Of Large Real Estate Holdings

Berlin, German - A three-day conference organized by the housing rights group Deutsche Wohnen & Co Enteignen (DWE) or Expropriate Deutsche Wohnen und Co. in Berlin has demanded that the Berlin State government immediately socialize large real estates in the city. The conference held from May 27 to 29 at the Technical University of Berlin discussed tactics for building major housing rights coalitions across the country to tackle the worsening housing crisis. The expropriation initiative also criticized maneuvers by the ruling Social Democratic Party (SPD) to place technical and legal hurdles in delivering the mandate of the Berlin referendum held in September 2021 for expropriating the property of big landlords.

Malden Residents Can’t Get Through To Housing Management, Form Coalition

Rhina Sorto, who has been filing complaints to Carabetta Management for months about mold, flooding and rodent infestation, was joined in a protest yesterday by other Malden Towers residents, as well as tenant advocates showing solidarity. Gathered in the parking lot of Malden Towers apartment complex at 99 Florence St., those present witnessed three Malden tenant associations come together. The event, which started at noon, was organized by the City Life/Vida Urbana (CLVU) housing nonprofit. The nonprofit brought together the Malden Towers Tenant Association, the United Properties Tenant Association and the Maplewood Square Tenant Association into a coalition with one mission: dignified housing.

When Private Equity Becomes Your Landlord

Daniel Cooper could barely afford a tiny apartment at the 13-story Olume building in downtown San Francisco. But the expansive view from the roof deck captivated him. Raised in a small city in Kentucky, Cooper was struck by the grandeur of the skyline before him, from the soaring heights of Salesforce tower, San Francisco’s largest skyscraper, to the gleaming gold cupolas atop St. Joseph’s Church, one of the city’s historic landmarks. The sense of opportunity he felt when looking out on his new hometown helped convince the software engineer to become one of the glassy new building’s first tenants in 2016. He joined Mévis Mousbé, a driver for a ride-sharing service who had been the first to move in.

Blaming The Victims—Not The System—For Bronx Fire Deaths

Was it the space heater on the third floor? The open door on the 15th floor? The faulty fire alarms that went off frequently? The nonexistent sprinkler system? Colonel Mustard with the candlestick in the library? As local and national corporate media covered the devastating fire in the Bronx that killed 17 people on January 9, two culprits were somehow never on the list of what and who was responsible: the landlord and the city’s Housing, Preservation and Development (HPD) department, which is responsible for making sure landlords comply with housing codes. Always under suspicion were the tenants themselves, who were implicitly blamed throughout the coverage.

The Radical Legacy Of New York’s Winter Rent Strike

From 26 December 1907 to 9 January 1908, 10,000 tenants, predominantly Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe living in New York City’s Lower East Side, took part in a historic rent strike. During an economic depression causing mass unemployment and grinding poverty, landlords tried to hike rents by thirty-three percent. With their cry to ‘fight the landlord as they had the Czar’, the tenants won a partial victory, with rents significantly reduced for 2,000 households. The movement established a tradition of militant working-class housing campaigns that eventually contributed to winning vital rent controls that still protect millions of the city’s tenants today. But as the Covid crisis continues, New York City renters are again organising against rapacious landlordism.

Berliners Vote On Expropriating Housing From Powerful Landlords

Most international coverage of the German elections is focused on who will replace Angela Merkel after her 16-year term as chancellor ends, but for everyday Berliners, just having the resources to pay the rent is a bigger concern. Berlin’s efforts to lower the fast-rising rents in Germany’s capital city have led to a referendum which could expropriate and socialize almost a quarter of a million apartments primarily from Deutsche Wohnen, the largest real estate company in Europe and one of the largest companies in Germany. After years of rising rent forcing many Berliners out of the city, activists led by Deutsche Wohnen & Co Enteignen (Expropriate Deutsche Wohnen, or DWE) received nearly 350,000 signatures from Berliners and managed to force a vote on whether to allow the expropriation of housing owned by landlords with over 3,000 units on the Sept. 26 election ballot.

Renters in Berlin have a radical plan to seize apartments from landlords

Like many cities around the world, rents in the German capital of Berlin have soared in recent years, doubling in the last decade alone. But unlike many other cities, the people of Berlin are actually doing something about it. First residents persuaded the local authorities to bring in a rent cap that instructed landlords to freeze rents at 2019 levels. However, that was overturned by Germany's federal court in April, which ruled the measures unconstitutional. Now local campaigners are planning something even more radical: a bid to nationalize thousands of privately owned apartments in the city. Specifically, campaigners want the government to take apartments from real estate firms that own more than 3,000 apartments, place them into public ownership, and rent them out at more affordable rates.

Kushner Companies Violated Multiple Laws

It’s been six years since Dionne Mont first saw her apartment at Fontana Village, a rental housing complex just east of Baltimore. She was aghast that day to find the front door coming off its hinges, the kitchen cabinet doors stuck to their frames, mouse droppings under the kitchen sink, mold in the refrigerator, the toilet barely functioning and water stains on every upstairs ceiling, among other problems. But she had already signed the lease and paid the deposit. Mont insisted that management make repairs, but that took several months, during which time she paid her $865 monthly rent and lived elsewhere. She was hit with constant late fees and so-called “court” fees, because the management company required tenants to pay rent at a Walmart or a check-cashing outlet, and she often couldn’t get there from her job as a bus driver before the 4:30 p.m. cutoff.

Moth-Eaten Eviction Moratorium Leaves Hundreds Of Thousands Without A Roof

Washington, DC - “Raise your hand if you can’t pay rent,” she yelled sharply and resolutely into a microphone. A Spanish translation echoed her words as hands shot up across the crowd. “Now make that into a fist. Because we gotta fight! It’s only when we fight that we can win!” Cheers and hollers muffled by face masks reverberated off the brick facades. Cars honked as they drove by, throwing solidarity fists at the “Cancel Rent” posters lined up along the sidewalk. A woman with a “Food not Rent” banner waved back with encouragement. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “some 22 million adults reported that their household didn’t have enough to eat,” with Black and Latino households more than twice as likely as white residents to go hungry.

Philadelphia May Have Just Revolutionized Evictions

Philadelphia is on the verge of upending evictions as we know them. Last Wednesday, the Municipal Court of Philadelphia, which houses landlord-tenant court, released a new order following the extension of the CDC’s nationwide eviction moratorium through June. For the next 45 days, landlords are required to apply to PHLRentAssist, the city’s rental assistance program, and enroll in the Eviction Diversion Program before filing an eviction for nonpayment. The order is a game changer. Before the pandemic, landlords filed 20,000 evictions a year in Philadelphia’s landlord-tenant court. That’s despite the devastatingly long list of harms associated with eviction, harms that start with the court filing, a record of which is publicly accessible forever — regardless of the outcome.

‘Subsidizing The Spread Of Covid’

Nearly 200 corporate landlords received $320 million in federal pandemic-related assistance only to turn around and file more than 5,380 evictions between mid-March and mid-October of last year, recklessly displacing thousands of impoverished Americans in the midst of a public health and economic emergency. That's according to Taxpayer Subsidized Evictions: Corporate Landlords Pocket Federal Sweetheart Deals, Subsidies, and Tax Breaks While Evicting Struggling Families, a newreport(pdf) published Tuesday by the Jobs With Justice Education Fund and the Private Equity Stakeholder Project.

And The Landlords Said ‘Fuck You’

Portland, OR - I know it is often hard to see, but significant elements of the folks in power at various levels of government are keenly aware that we're in a crisis, and they want to avoid a total meltdown of the social order.  They often like to act blasé and in control of the situation, they like to pretend that we all believe we live in a society governed by law, where we all play by certain rules that are more or less sacred.  But really they know they rule over a house of cards that sits on top of a powder keg, and there's a fire burning nearby, which they need to keep from reaching the powder keg, and any notions of the rule of law are relatively worthless when millions of people are suddenly unable to house themselves or put food on the table.

Make Corporate Landlords Pay The Bills During The Pandemic

The Covid-19 crisis has both exposed and exacerbated racial and wealth inequality in the United States. As unemployment skyrockets and tens of millions of Americans struggle with a sudden loss of income, many are unable to pay rents or mortgages and are facing eviction, foreclosure, and possible homelessness. We’ve seen this eviction crisis brewing for months, and despite platitudes about racial justice, our elected officials and corporate landlords haven’t taken any meaningful action to prevent it from hitting poor people of color hardest.

Landlords Pressuring Tenants To Pay Rent Are Getting Pandemic Relief

The first time she remembers protesting in the region, about 10 years ago, Tara Maxwell was outside the Virginia home of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. His wife Virginia, the target of Maxwell’s ire that day, is a prominent right-wing lobbyist and current adviser to President Donald Trump’s administration. “If I can protest at Clarence Thomas’ house, I can protest at anybody’s house,” Maxwell says dryly. “It doesn't bother me.” So when Maxwell, an independent contractor with experience in law enforcement and political consulting, moved into the Park 7 Apartments on Minnesota Avenue NE last August, she was not afraid to raise hell over problems with her living conditions.

Corporate Landlords Have Gotten Government Aid; Tenants Haven’t

The federal government has given millions of dollars to corporate landlords accused of inhumane eviction practices, poor maintenance of their buildings, and unfair rent increases.  These landlords received loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, billed as a means to help small businesses stay afloat during the pandemic. Borrowers don’t have to pay back the loan if it is used for payroll, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.  But some of those companies were corporate landlords accused of mistreating their tenants.
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