- As tenants across the country call for rent strikes during the coronavirus outbreak, a Los Angeles property manager tried to remind tenants that they still owe rent.
- But in their email to tenants, the company approached them collectively – and inadvertently revealed all of their email addresses, which made it easier for them to strike, as Curbed said for the first time.
- A tenant told Insider that he was still trying to negotiate with management, but that a rent strike was “likely”.
- “I don’t think they realize that the tool they just gave us by giving us every email,” said another tenant, Roberto Torres, in Curbed. “They basically did all of the hard work for us. “
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Prior to rent day on April 1, some workers in the country called rent strikes due to the coronavirus epidemic, which resulted in reduced hours of work, holidays and layoffs.
Ten million workers have filed for unemployment in the past two weeks – a record since the government started collecting the data in 1967.
Saturn Management, a property management company in Los Angeles, California, attempted to end a strike on Tuesday, notifying tenants by email that they still have to pay rent.
But the message backfired: instead of sending an invisible carbon copy, or BCC, to each tenant – which would keep them anonymous to each other – the email was sent to the group collectively.
This meant that 300 tenants had all of each other’s contact information, according to Curbed, who first reported the story. The message chain offered them a place to complain about health and safety concerns at the 24 properties.
“I’m just throwing in there – RENT STRIKE,” wrote Roberto Torres, a tenant in an apartment in Los Angeles to the west.
And now the tenants have started organizing a rent strike, which could start in May. They communicate in group chats and on a shared document where they collect other complaints about the properties.
For some, strikes may be the only option. Nailah, a tenant who asked to be identified by her first name, told Insider that a strike was “likely”.
“As a full-time photographer and event curator, I lost all of my stuff to comply [California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s] order of social distancing and security for all, ”she said.
But tenants “will manage things at the lowest level before escalating” on strike, she added.
COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, has prompted some officials to ask for measures to ensure that tenants will not be evicted. Governor Newsom issued an injunction last week to prevent any evictions until May 31. A handful of cities and states across the country have issued temporary eviction bans.
But tenants still have to pay the rent and are required to submit documents showing they have been affected by the pandemic to prevent the eviction, according to Curbed. The Saturn Management email informed tenants that the statewide moratorium “only delays an eviction,” a tenant said on social media.
—Jared Servantez (@jservantez) April 1, 2020
Another tenant’s tweet on the email quickly went viral.
—Nai (@CloudNaii) April 1, 2020
“The tenants are grouping together”
Los Angeles tenants have disappointed property managers, who say their message has been misinterpreted. Michael Mannheim, a rental partner at Saturn Management, told Curbed that the purpose of the email was to “keep the line of communication open” and “make sure they understood the resources at their disposal.” disposition “.
“The point is that now our tenants are coming together, using our mistake against us, expressing their grievances,” said Mannheim.
Mannheim told Curbed that the company would assess rent deferrals on a case-by-case basis and told tenants to look for other resources like unemployment benefits and food banks.
Saturn Management did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Meanwhile, tenants are in touch with the Los Angeles Tenants Union, which has launched a Food Not Rent campaign to strike if tenants cannot afford rent during the epidemic.
“There are a lot of people who have been affected by this in various ways,” said tenant Alex Mercier at Curbed. “For me it is both a personal matter and a community issue – we are all there together. “
“I don’t think they realize the tool they just gave us by sending us every email,” said Torres, adding that he was delighted to “respect it”. [his] owner ”.
“They basically did all of the hard work for us. “
This article has been updated.