Millions across America are out of work throughout Houston, TX and Dallas, TX, with no idea when they’ll be able to return. The Coronavirus has upended daily life, and with it- our economy. It’s no wonder people are worried, frustrated, and scared. Many are even quite angry. This has led to some people thinking and actually saying out loud that a renters strike would be a good idea. Let’s be clear about the fact that it would not be.
For one thing, many if not most landlords do not own their properties outright. They have mortgages they turn around and pay with the rent they collect. A rent strike would mean landlords and property managers themselves are forced to default on property loans. Some strike advocates have urged banks to suspend requiring payments from landlords and property management companies so that those groups can better absorb their own financial losses from a rent strike. This is just not going to happen. The banks are not running a charity, and therefore neither are the landlords.
Your landlord doesn’t just sit on your rent money. A widespread rent strike would force them to lay off their own workers, cut back on property maintenance, or even close apartment complexes. Clearly, that doesn’t help anyone.
There are several words of warning for anyone refusing to pay their rent. First, be aware that while the courts are closed at this present moment, they won’t be closed forever. If you choose not to pay rent when you are able, your landlord will be down at the appropriate building filing an eviction the day they open back up. An eviction is a lot more than just moving; it’s on your permanent record for all future landlords to see. You will lose your apartment, yes, but also ruin your credit and make it very difficult to get any sort of decent housing in the future.
A rent strike simply is not a good idea for anyone. Refusing to pay your rent, even if you get others in your building to agree to do the same, isn’t going to liquidate capitalism. It won’t make you a homeowner or solve all your financial problems. It will do the opposite; it’s going to demolish your credit and eventually make you homeless.
If you can pay your rent, it would be to your benefit to do so. Creative Realty suggests you communicate with the property manager of your Houston TX or Dallas TX apartment on your situation and try to negotiate a payment plan if you cannot pay all of your rent on time. The managers do want to work with you and not evict you if possible. There is no free ride during this crisis, though. It is all temporary, so it’s important to keep in mind that what you do now will have long term effects. Don’t panic. Simply reach out to your landlord or property management company and explain your situation.