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Threatened Rent Strike Would Have ‘Devastating’ Impact on Housing

01/04/2020

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Southern California Rental Housing Association Draws Attention Southern California Rental Housing Association Draws Attention to Rental Property Owners’ Financial Obligations

MEDIA CONTACT: Molly Kirkland 858.751.2200 | mkirkland@socalrha.org

SAN DIEGO (March 31, 2020) – Responding to news reports regarding a potential “rent strike” being threatened by a tenant group in the San Diego area, the Southern California Rental Housing Association (SCRHA) is raising awareness of the severe negative impact such an action would have on rental property-related jobs and the local housing supply.

Rent strikes have been proposed in various areas of the United States – as well as some spots in Europe and other parts of the world – among people who feel they should not have to pay rent because of the mandatory COVID-19 shutdown.

“Everyone loses in a rent strike – not just the landlord,” said SCRHA Board President Kendra Bork. “The unintended consequences of a rent strike would be to take away jobs and income from the workers who are on the front lines of this crisis.”

SCRHA Executive Director Alan Pentico said many rental property owners and managers recognize that the crisis is impacting tenants, and many are working with tenants who have lost income to provide flexibility or adjust terms. Meanwhile, he noted, tenants have received increased protections in recent weeks. On March 27, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order halting evictions statewide for renters impacted by the pandemic. Various local jurisdictions have enacted their own tenant protections, as well.

“We are greatly concerned about the discussions taking place of a potential ‘rent strike,’ which would be not only illegal, but devastating to small, independent operators in the rental housing industry and would have a ripple effect of hurting the people who work in rental property-related jobs,” Pentico said. “Non-payment of rent could unfairly hurt the people who work in our rental housing industry and would damage our housing supply, both now and in the future.”

The consequences of a rent strike would be severe, impacting the owner’s ability to pay essential employees: managers, custodians, maintenance technicians, painters, landscapers, pool service personnel, trash disposal personnel and others. Many of these jobs are designated as essential during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis because they provide health and safety services on these properties.

Assemblymember Todd Gloria has issued a statement calling for relief for rental property owners. “With these protections for renters now in place, I believe it is imperative we provide similar protections for landlords. No one is immune from the impacts of COVID-19, and no one should face eviction, foreclosure, or economic ruin because of this crisis. We are all in this together, and together, we must make sure all of us can return to normalcy once we get through this.”

New renter protections have been enacted by local governments including San Diego County, the City of San Diego, the City of Chula Vista and the City of San Marcos. These local eviction moratoriums are temporary. They do not permanently waive rental payments, and none apply to all renters automatically. Participation will require timely notification to the property owner as well as documentation of how the COVID-19 pandemic or related government orders have impacted the tenant’s ability to make rent payments on schedule.

The global response to the virus known as COVID-19 has led to significant changes in the rental housing industry for owners, managers and tenants, SCRHA is taking a leadership role in developing new resources for property owners and managers incorporating up-to-the-minute guidance, including:

ABOUT:
The Southern California Rental Housing Association (SCRHA) is the region’s leading trade association serving the rental housing industry. We provide education and advocacy to individuals and companies who own, manage, or provide services to the rental housing industry throughout Southern California.

For nearly 100 years, Southern California Rental Housing Association has been one of the nation’s leading apartment associations and has provided members and the industry with education and training, networking opportunities, and critical legislative advocacy.