Filed under: Action, Housing, Northeast
Report from Brooklyn, NY tenants on an attempt by landlords to break their rent strike. To hear our interview on This Is America with tenants at 1234 Pacific Street, go here.
Since April 1st, tenants of 1234 Pacific Street, Brooklyn, NY, have been on rent strike.Many of these tenants are unable to pay rent as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, and others are withholding their payment in solidarity with their neighbors.
On April 23rd, some striking leaseholders received an email from an agent of landlord Isaac Schwartz, who owns 50 buildings in New York City, an $87 million real estate portfolio. Management is demanding the immediate payment of rent:
Residential housing is deemed essential and must continue operating regardless of the conditions we find ourselves in…Your rent payment is necessary to continue our management services.
In their collective response, the 1234 Pacific Street Tenant Association wrote:
Housing, as ever, is essential. That’s why we are standing with tenants and people experiencing homelessness all over the city, the state, the nation, and the world to demand rent cancellation, shelter for unhoused people, and a reinvestment in public and social housing models.
— 1234 Pacific Street Tenant Association (@1234PacificPowr) April 24, 2020
Since the strike began, management has instructed the building’s superintendent to climb up on the fire escape in the rain in order to remove banners and sheets hung to announce the collective action. The superintendent has also been directed to do unnecessary work, such as repainting each apartment door, necessitating the temporary removal of the strike notices and needlessly endangering a worker’s health.
The 1234 Pacific Street Tenant Association plans to continue its strike into May with at least 25 of 36 units participating. They are joined by many other buildings and individual tenants taking collective action with the Housing Justice for All coalition, representing the largest coordinated rent strike in New York in almost a century.
Representatives of the 1234 Pacific Street Tenant association are available for press inquiries. Please reach out to [email protected] or on Twitter @1234PacificPowr and someone will reply as soon as possible.