Rent strike in the works

Published: Apr. 21, 2020 at 6:59 PM EDT
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Paying rent has been an issue for many in North Central Florida due to COVID-19 leaving people with pay cuts, furloughs, and jobless.

The first of the month is less than two weeks away and many struggle with the fact that they may not make their rent.

To help, the Alachua County Labor Coalition is planning a rent strike against landlords.

An official with the coalition said, "For example, Collier Company, or Trimark or Alligator Realty"

These companies are targeted because they have a lot of tenants and are in a position, according to the coalition, to help.

The fight for rent relief can mean anything from waiving late fees to pushing rent back a month.

Coordinator Ashley Nguyen said, "And have their tenants all organized together and agree to rent strike but that only works if those tenants all work very closely together and agree to hold that solidarity by withholding their rent."

Just as tenants face issues paying rent, landlords and housing companies also have financial obligations to meet such as mortgage and payroll.

Rosa Hernandez, a non-student tenant in off-campus student housing complex, says help needs to go to all.

"Housing should be a right, it's not a privilege, you need a place to live. If housing is a right it needs to be treated like that. I'm not saying landlords should go with no payment. What should happen is that rent is frozen but so are mortgage payments. You know, those things should go hand in hand."

Although they're not offering lease terminations, Trimark properties in Gainesville gives several options for people who need help online including information on stimulus checks and unemployment.