BC and federal governments facilitate massive transfer of wealth from bottom to top as renters unable to pay continue to organize

***For immediate release***

April 2nd 2020

VANCOUVER BC

Due to weeks of inaction by federal and BC provincial governments to get support measures out by rent day, thousands of renters with partial or no income have hit a financial wall.

This means that on April 1st they drained their savings, took on debt, or missed paying rent. Since launch of the next phase of #BCRentCrisis campaign less than a week ago, the Vancouver Tenants Union is organizing with tenants in over 30 buildings across Vancouver to collectively bargain and not suffer alone.

“It seems pretty clear that this BC Government adopted a ‘let’s see what happens’ approach, opting to do the bare minimum for renters during this rent crisis,” said VTU Steering Committee member Mazdak Gharibnavaz. “As thousands of renters drained their savings or went into debt to make rent on April 1st, let’s be clear on what that means: a transfer of wealth from lower-class working people to upper-class owners, corporate landlords and property management companies. We’re already hearing from tenants whose landlords are exploiting this crisis to make even more money in the form of late fees, interest rates, and illegal rent increases. Renters are bearing the brunt of this crisis now”.

Today, the VTU is reiterating its #BCRentCrisis campaign demands. To meet basic necessities, we need:

  • A cancellation on all rents. We won’t go into debt, risk our health or starve our families to pay the rent.
  • A deferment of all mortgage payments without accruing interest. No bank should profit off of disaster while tenants pay the price.
  • A cancellation of outstanding rents and evictions notices when the eviction moratorium is lifted. We will not bear the brunt of this crisis by losing our homes or wiping away our futures.

“If governments won’t take adequate action then renters will,” said VTU Steering Committee member David Hendry. “Right now, hundreds of tenants continue to contact the VTU, seeking to know their rights and looking for support so they can organize their buildings. In less than one week, we’ve connected with and are supporting tenants in over 30 rental buildings across Vancouver, helping them build solidarity and bargain collectively with their corporate landlords. If John Horgan or Justin Trudeau think that May 1st will be a repeat of April 1st, they have another thing coming”.

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Illustration by Helena Krobath