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There’s Only One State Where Falling Behind On Rent Could Mean Jail Time

Arkansas state Rep. Nicole Clowney, D-Fayetteville, introduced a bill Thursday that would repeal the state’s criminal “failure to vacate” statute. First enacted in 1901, the law allows landlords to seek criminal charges, which can result in jail time, for tenants who fall even a single day behind on rent and do not vacate a property within 10 days. Everywhere else in the U.S., evictions are exclusively a civil matter. The legislation comes after a ProPublica and Arkansas Nonprofit News Network article in October revealed how criminal charges brought under the statute can snowball into arrest warrants and jail time for tenants. A deputy county prosecutor who criticized the law, saying it essentially criminalizes poverty, was fired for his remarks.

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.

While Pushing Big Oil Bailouts, Trump Slaps Wind And Solar With $50 Million In Old Rent Bills

While giving fossil fuel companies access to relief funds ostensibly meant for small businesses struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration on Monday slapped solar and wind power firms with retroactive rent bills dating back two years. The Interior Department is demanding rent payments from renewable energy companies operating on federal lands, two years after it suspended rent for the operators as it investigated whether the Obama administration had charged too much. The administration plans to collect $50 million in rent this year from 96 companies operating on federal property—the same amount of money that a recent report showed is going to fossil fuel companies in loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

April 25: National Day Of Car Protests To Cancel The Rents

On Saturday, April 25th cities and towns around the country will mobilize to demand: A national cancellation of all rents, mortgages for homeowners, small landlords, and small businesses, for the duration of the Pandemic.  The patchwork of city and state moratoriums on evictions is not enough. In a few months when these moratoriums are lifted and the rents come due -- we will still not have the money! Join thousands of people across the country in car caravan protests on Saturday, April 25 to demand the cancellation of rent and all debts to landlords for the duration of the pandemic. 

Rolling Protest For Rent Forgiveness

Protesting in a method that aligned with the social distancing urged by the state, county and city, tenant advocates climbed into their vehicles and rolled past the traditional Los Angeles Mayor’s residence — Getty House in Windsor Square — in a demonstration intended to urge Mayor Eric Garcetti to support sweeping anti-eviction measures amid the widening coronavirus crisis. The protesters, rolling up and down the street in cars bearing pro-eviction-ban messages, called for a complete moratorium on evictions, full rent forgiveness or the suspension of rent for those who can’t afford it and making hotel and motel rooms available for people without homes. In a marathon meeting on Friday, the City Council passed a collection of measures providing protection for people hit hard by business closures, layoffs and other aftershocks of the pandemic.

More Than 400,000 Demand Congress Freeze All Rent, Mortgage, And Utility Payments

More than 400,000 people have signed a petition calling on Congress to freeze all rent, mortgage, and utility payments nationwide in order to prevent a looming "housing catastrophe" as millions of Americans head into April jobless and unsure whether they will be able to afford their bills. "Millions are wondering how they'll pay their rent or mortgage by tomorrow," said Justin Ruben, co-director of ParentsTogether Action, which organized the petition. "We need additional emergency action suspending rent, mortgage and utility payments for the duration of this crisis." On Tuesday, ParentsTogether released a survey showing that just 38% of parents believe they will be able to make their rent or mortgage payments on Wednesday without cutting back on food, medicine, or other necessities.

New York Took On The Real Estate Industry And Won. Illinois Could Be Next.

On June 14, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law new housing legislation that guarantees the “strongest tenant protections in history,” extending rent regulation from New York City and adjacent counties to the entire state, finally closing rent control loopholes and eliminating the “vacancy bonus” that allowed landlords to hike rents once tenants moved out. Some form of rent regulation has been in place in New York City for nearly a century. But the laws that were meant to keep housing affordable and tenants in place by limiting rent increases had been run through with loopholes because they had to be re-legislated...

HUD Plan Would Raise Rents For Poor By 20 Percent

CHARLESTON, S.C.—Housing Secretary Ben Carson says his latest proposal to raise rents would mean a path toward self-sufficiency for millions of low-income households across the United States by pushing more people to find work. For Ebony Morris and her four small children, it could mean homelessness. Morris lives in Charleston, South Carolina, where most households receiving federal housing assistance would see their rent go up an average 26 percent, according to an analysis done by Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and provided exclusively to The Associated Press. But her increase would be nearly double that. Overall, the analysis shows that in the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas, low-income tenants — many of whom have jobs — would have to pay roughly 20 percent more each year for rent under the plan.

Renter Nation Assemblies 2015

By Staff of Homes for All - Hundreds gathered and gave direct testimony about the citywide displacement crisis. Grassroots activists also planned strategies and tactics for passing Just Cause Eviction, breaking down by city council district, and they shared a variety of organizing approaches to the displacement crisis through interactive and cultural presentations. Topics included inclusionary development policy, community land trusts and community control of public land, creation of neighborhood stabilization zones, and struggles for local hiring and community benefit standards. The Right to Remain Assembly culminated in a massive citywide action cosponsored by Boston Tenant Coalition, Right to the City Boston, Alternatives for Community & Environment, Boston Workers Alliance, Chinatown Resident Association, Chinese Progressive Association, City Life/Vida Urbana, Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation, Dominican Development Center, Dorchester People for Peace, Fairmount Indigo Community Development Collaborative, Jamaica Plain Progressives, Neighbors United for a Better East Boston, New England United for Justice, SEIU 32BJ.

Push For Rent Control Is Taking Root Across America

By Randy Shaw for Counterpunch. Activists in cities that have long had rent control laws are pushing for stronger measures. In Los Angeles, activists like Larry Gross, Director of the Coalition for Economic Survival, want the city to stop allowing tenants to be evicted so that speculators can demolish their rent-controlled buildings (emptying the building through the Ellis Act, a state law that preempts local just cause eviction laws). CES and their allies forced the head of the California Housing Finance Agency toresign over his Ellis Act eviction of tenants. The spread of rent control campaigns goes beyond California. In Seattle, sharply rising rents and tenant displacement led Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Nick Licata to push for a Council resolutionrepealing of the statewide ban on rent control. On September 21, Seattle’s City Council backed the resolution calling for repealing the state preemption of local rent control enacted in 1981. Portland tenants are also pushing for rent control.

Rent Strike At UCL & SOAS Was Successful!

By David Dahlborn in The Student Assembly - If we learn one thing from the recent rent strikes at University College London (UCL) and the School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS) it should be this: we won and we can win again. In 21st century London rent strikes still work. And we should use them frequently to win campaigns by concentrating our forces at our enemies’ weakest point. Oppressive rents, scumbag landlords and gentrification caused by property investment are rampant. There is talk across London and the country of the need for housing campaigns and a “fightback” against property owners and their landlord lackeys. What we have demonstrated is that, alongside well-practiced campaigning methods – demos, occupations and blockades – it will, above all, be rent strikes that enable us to coerce the ruling class to concede to our demands for better and affordable housing.

‘Royally Screwed’: Activists Eviscerate Gov. Cuomo After Rent Laws Deal

By Ross Barkan in The Observer - Telling reporters that they were “royally screwed,” tenant activists and a Democratic city councilman blasted Gov. Andrew Cuomo today for failing to bolster rent regulations as much as they had hoped. Gathered outside Mr. Cuomo’s Midtown office, the activists from left-leaning groups including Make the Road New York, New York Communities for Change and Crown Heights Tenant Union called the Democratic governor a Republican, said he had done the equivalent of urinating on them, and even claimed he would be arrested before he sought re-election in 2018. “The deal that is about to be voted on is worse than the deal in 2011. They have done absolutely nothing to help tenants in New York City,” said Councilman Jumaane Williams, a Brooklyn Democrat and chair of the Council’s housing and buildings committee.

New York Rent Control Advocates Camp Out Near Capitol

By Nick Muscavage in Legislative GazetteProtesters in support of stronger protections for renters slept in Academy Park in Albany last night with only pillows and sleeping bags. They are planning a protest in the Capitol Tuesday as lawmakers return to Albany to finish the legislative session. Rent regulations remains one of the last major issues to address before lawmakers can return to their districts for the summer. There were about 15 protesters from different organizations including NYC Communities and Real Rent sleeping in the park. While there, at least two Assembly members came to the park to show support and chat with the protesters. Assemblyman Keith Wright, D-Manhattan, and Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, D-Manhattan, both stopped by the park last night and visited with the protesters. Wright said at a press conference last week that he will fight for stronger rent laws as long as it takes.

Lawmakers Join Tenants In ‘Sleep-In’ Protest Over Rent Laws

By Monica Morales in Pix11 - Tenants, advocates and lawmakers camped out overnight Thursday outside the office of Governor Andrew Cuomo to protest the state letting housing regulation laws expire, impacting millions of New Yorkers who have rent stabilized apartments. Protesters have a powerful allies with them in the protest– Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams and several council makers. Many there are sleeping on the streets–to show the growing frustrations that millions of New Yorkers are feeling right now. Meantime the Mayor and the Attorney General held a joint press conference about busting bad landlord under a new taskforce created to protected tenants of rent stabilized apartments across the city. One of the first landlords arrested ran a building on Union Street. He allegedly endangered the health of his residents–including a six-year-old girl.
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