How Do I Strike?
Many folks will still not be able to pay their rent on June 1st. If you are in that situation or want to pledge to not pay in solidarity with others sign the pledge. We hope that building a wider movement around rent striking now can help sway political momentum so that the government is forced to waive rental fees.
If your rent is paid to your landlord automatically by your bank, you can contact your bank to have them put the payments on hold or cancel your landlord as a payee for the time being.
Talking to your neighbours and other tenants about the idea of rent striking can help others to participate and spread the word. Under the Resources tab you can find sample letters, flyers and posters to distribute in your community. Apartment buildings or tenants who share the same landlord are a great place to start because you can easily present as an organized group – strength in numbers! The Vancouver Tenants’ Union offers additional resources specifically catered to organizing your building.
Depending on your relationship with your landlord, it could be a good idea to speak with them about why you won’t be paying your rent. Letting them know that you either can’t afford rent or are choosing to participate in a general rent strike, or both, can contextualize your actions and let them know that you are part of a greater movement.
Letting your neighbours or friends know that you are rent striking may also allow you to call on them for support if conflict with your landlord arises. Joining an organization like the Vancouver Tenants’ Union can also make you part of a network who can offer you external support in conflicts with your landlord. Engaging with their efforts to lobby the government to help renters can help us all.
Organizing Safely During COVID-19
This section makes many calls for interaction with neighbours or landlords and it’s important to recognize the dangers associated with social contact during the pandemic. We fully support taking social distancing measures seriously and would discourage anyone from organizing a gathering or knocking on neighbours’ doors.
However, with safety precautions in mind it is possible to do a lot of successful organizing remotely. Reaching out to your networks by phone, e-mail or on social media and circulating the information provided here will grow the movement and encourage others to participate.
If you’d like to distribute letters, flyers, or posters in your neighborhood, one sensible protocol is to ask folks (through the door and/or write on the flyer/poster) not to pick up/touch flyers/posters, but instead just take a picture of it. If possible, don’t pass flyers under doors but instead leave them outside. Be sure to print and distribute them with freshly washed hands and/or clean gloves (don’t touch your face, your phone, or any other surfaces – use your elbow/arm to turn off the faucet, open doors, ring bells, knock), and transport them in clean bags or folders to avoid passing on any possible infection. (Preliminary evidence suggests the novel coronavirus can remain viable on cardboard up to 24 hrs. Viability time on paper is likely similar, so another option to consider is putting on any flyers/posters the date they were distributed & a recommendation to avoid touching for 24 hours, and to wash hands immediately afterwards.)
Pledge to join the rent strike and watch the movement grow
Sign the Vancouver Tenants’ Union statement from renters who can’t afford to pay
Contact info & Addresses
E-mail government officials or call your local MP to let them know they need to halt rent payments during the pandemic with no consequences for renters. A great statement of tenants’ demands is available from the Vancouver Tenant’s Union – you can link to it or draft your own. This toolkit also allows you to instantly email city councilors to demand a rent moratorium.
Provincial Housing Minister Selina Robinson
Email: [email protected] Telephone: 604-933-2001
102-1108 Austin Avenue, Coquitlam, BC V3K 3P5
Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart
Email: [email protected] Telephone for City Hall: 604-873-7000
Kennedy Stewart, Mayor
3rd Floor, City Hall
453 West 12th Ave
Vancouver, BC V5Y 1V4
BC Premier John Horgan
Email: [email protected] Telephone: 250-387-1715
Langford – Juan de Fuca Community Office
122 – 2806 Jacklin Road
Victoria, BC V9B 5A4