San Diego Tenants Stage Rent Strike In Response To Coronavirus Pandemic
A caravan of protesters wound through San Diego on Friday, part of a statewide rent strike.
More than a month into the coronavirus lockdown and resulting local economic collapse, many tenants are stuck between having to choose between paying rent or paying for other necessities.
Some tenant advocates say the government hasn’t done enough to support renters.
"The government is more concerned on this economic crisis than the people that make this economy work, which are workers. We’re exchanging this pandemic for a mass eviction crisis," said Grace Martinez, an organizer with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. Her group helped organize the caravan and strike Friday.
San Diego’s had an eviction moratorium in place since March. But it’s due to expire at the end of May.
A recent survey by a landlord’s association found that under 10% of landlords in San Diego saw late or non-payment of rents in April. The president of a landlords’ group says an organized rent strike is misdirected.
"I think there’s a difference between I can’t pay my rent, and I won’t pay my rent," said Kendra Bork, president of the Southern California Rental Housing Association, which advocates for landlords. "There’s one thing to be said, I’m looking for a job, I’m waiting on unemployment, but the thing is people that can pay their rent if they can, they should, because that helps keep that property running."
That group is also calling on the state and federal government to step up support to tenants, in the form of rental vouchers.