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Apr 4, 20

Brooklyn, NY: Tenants on Rent Strike After Landlord Fails to Negotiate

Report from the launch of a rent strike in Brooklyn, New York on April 1st.

On Monday, March 30th, the 1234 Pacific Street Tenant Association, a group of organized tenants that formed in 2018, submitted a formal request asking Pacific Management to reduce their rent from April 1 through the end of the COVID-19 public health crisis:

“We are writing to request a 50% building-wide reduction in rent payments, with as much as a 100% reduction for those of us who are entirely out of work at this time. This reduction would need to go into effect immediately for the month of April and stay in effect for the duration of the crisis.”

The tenant association asked Pacific Management’s head-officer, Isaac Schwartz, to come to the table to negotiate in good faith with his tenants, many of whom have already lost their jobs and will be unable to pay rent on April 1. Schwartz, who owns 50 rental properties in New York City, a portfolio valued at $87 million, failed to come to the table before April 1st, writing:

“Tenants and landlords are both having a hard time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is too early for us to know what the government wants us to do.”

Now the tenant association has formally declared they are on a rent strike.

“We need you to work with us to fight for statewide relief for both renters and owners in this moment of unprecedented crisis. Landlords must now make their own demands of the state and of the banks because renters have been ignored…”

They are continuing to call on Governor Cuomo to #CancelRent and utilities across the state during the COVID-19 public health crisis. They are also demanding that vacant state-owned and subsidized units be used to house the 92,000 New Yorkers currently without housing and that a significant re-investment be made in public, subsidized, and non-profit housing, which is essential to keeping people safe.

“No one should be made to choose between food, medical care, and housing, ever, especially during a global pandemic.”

Contact 1234 Pacific Street Tenant association at [email protected] or on twitter @1234PacificPowr

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