Debt is Mounting – Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay!

By | April 30, 2021

What should renters do as payments pile up? Don’t move, fight back!

Join us next Thursday, October 1st for our Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay Organizing Call!

At the beginning of the month, Trump and the CDC issued a sweeping eviction moratorium. This is no doubt a victory of the grassroots organizing that put pressure on the establishment to act!

But while the order can prevent many people from being evicted for nonpayment, it’s nowhere near enough. The stipulations to qualify are vague and conditional. You must fill out this CDC form to be protected, and many renters who don’t know their rights under the new ban will slip through the cracks, predominantly in communities of color.

Landlords will no doubt do anything in their power to skirt the law as they have done throughout the pandemic. The order imposes fines on landlords who evict on the basis of COVID-related nonpayment, but does nothing to combat the majority of evictions that are informal.

Most outrageous of all, this measure does nothing to address the immediate crisis of rental debt.

In 2020, the use of credit cards to pay rent has increased by 43%. One-in-ten struggling renters has withdrawn money from a retirement account to pay the bills. 36% have drawn money from their personal savings. One-in-four renters have accumulated new debt either via credit cards, payday loans, or borrowing from family or friends.

Mountains of money owed – not only to landlords, but to credit card companies, payday lenders, relatives, and friends – are piling up on renters’ backs. Families are making huge sacrifices by foregoing food, utilities, and even medication to pay the rent. The fact that anyone is being forced to decide whether to put food on the table or to keep a roof over their heads is unacceptable.

These crippling debts that could soon spill over into an avalanche of evictions. Once the moratorium expires, renters are going to owe money in big lump sums that will be insurmountable for most. Millions across the country could find themselves facing eviction in the dead of winter.

This is not an individual problem as our landlords may want us to believe. It is a collective issue facing millions of Americans. And with Black and Latino renters most severely impacted, it is a crucial battlefield in the fight for racial justice.

We can’t afford to survive on debt! We must continue building a movement nationwide to #CancelRent, and we have to join forces with our fellow tenants to demand that our landlords forgive all back rent. Renters across the country are proving that when we organize, we can win the relief we deserve. Join us on October 1st to discuss how we can fight back!