Everything you need to know about the NYC rent strike

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May 8, 2020
what is the may day rent strike

With COVID-19 affecting people’s financial stability, there have been calls for a rent strike. So what is the NYC May Day rent strike and how does it affect you?

Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, many New Yorkers have suddenly lost their jobs and as a result, are struggling to pay their rent. The rent strike in New York City, starting May 1st,  is a way to send a message and pressure Governor Andrew Cuomo to cancel rent for the duration of this crisis. This rent strike is organized by Housing Justice for All and Right to Counsel NYC and as of May 7th, 14,465 people have pledged to withhold their May rent payment. 

So what do tenants want exactly and what are they hoping to achieve with this strike? The main goal of the May day rent strike is to have Governor Cuomo to provide relief for renters during this time and advocates are looking for rent cancellations for at least four months. This is because the only direct housing policy currently in place is a halt on evictions.

However, this is a temporary pause for 90 days and it doesn’t ensure tenants won’t get evicted after it is over. Many tenants are currently forced to dip heavily into their savings, if they’re fortunate to have one at all, in order to pay rent and it is uncertain how much longer they can continue doing that. Even after the pandemic, it’s no guarantee and the currently unemployed New Yorkers will suddenly have financial security. 

While landlords agree that the current policies put into place aren’t enough relief during this crisis, many landlord groups and property owners aren’t on board with the rent strike. This is because many say without the monthly income from tenants, they aren’t able to pay bills and maintain their apartment buildings.If the cancellation of rent gets put into effect, all landlords would need financial relief as well. This is because without monthly rent, landlords will be forced to shoulder the financial burden of paying necessary operational bills, such as water and cleaning, for the buildings.

In response to the tenant rent strike, some landlords have started a petition of their own: Property Tax relief or Tax strike”. It is supposed to be a movement to unite NYC landlords and  strike against paying taxes. While this petition is not endorsed by any real estate industry trade group, as of May 4th, there are 1,633 signatures so far. 

Who supports the rent strike?

Supporters of the cancellation of rent aren’t just tenants, but include representatives of New York State including State Senator Michael Gianaris, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, and City Comptroller Scott Stringer. There is also federal support by a few members of Congress including Re. Ilhan Omar, who introduced the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act. This proposed legislation is supported by New York Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Grace Meng. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo is one that doesn’t support the rent strike and has said that tenants who can pay rent should. Another official that doesn’t support this strike includes Mayor Blasio. While Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he disagrees with the rent strike, he has proposed a few rent relief plans that include the extension of the eviction moratorium, a deferment of rent for tenants, the use of pre-paid security deposits for rent, and a few others. 

what is the rent price strike
This Brooklyn 3 beds, 2 baths space was just rented out for $7,500, which is a 14.29% price cut off the original rental price. Find more listings like that on Localize.

Coronavirus and rent price NYC

With COVID-19 still impacting normal everyday life, it is no surprise that the real estate market is still feeling its effects. At the start of the pandemic, many listings on the market were taken down and today there are still a low supply of available spaces on the market as the buying and renting sector slows down since people are staying home and sellers are holding onto their property to sell at a later date. 

Due to this, there has been a rent price decline among rentals in the city, especially in Manhattan where prices are notoriously high compared to other boroughs. This could be because during this financially unstable time, they are trying to keep tenants in Manhattan instead of moving to another borough, which could be more affordable. However, if you’re looking for where to rent in New York City or have to move during this pandemic, this means good news for you and your wallet!

stop paying rent amid coronavirus
This West Village, Manhattan studio apartment was rented out for 17.49% less than it was originally listed for! Find more listings like that on Localize.

Price drops right now: 255 Mckibbin Street, #408

Space: 1 bed, 1 bath

Location: East Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Price drop: 18.46%

Current price: $5,300

Savings: $1,199.88

should you pay rent right now
255 Mckibbin Street, #408

As the rent strike in NYC is in effect along with calls for financial relief for both tenants and landlords, things are up in the air as legislations and relief programs are still being planned. The rent strike is just one aspect of how the real estate market in NYC is being affected during this time. However, if you are forced to move during this pandemic or are searching for a cheaper housing alternative to fit your tighter budget, there are plenty of rentals on the market with price drops. Localize features insights on all these listings so you can shop worry-free from the safety of your home. We do the intensive research for you so you don’t have to! Stay safe, healthy, and happy apartment hunting.

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