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Housing Advocates Call For A Rent Strike Among B.C. Residents

Vancouver rent

Photo: Harley Mac / Flickr

As the COVID-19 pandemic brings an economic crisis with it, some housing advocates are calling for a rent strike.

Advocates are asking B.C. residents to withhold their rent from landlords, even if they can afford to pay.

RELATED: It Will Be A Few More Months Before Vancouver Returns To “Full Normal Life”

“There is about a million people calling for rent cancellation and many of those people are calling for mortgage cancellation, and that would relieve a lot of pressure on tenants as well,” said Vancouver Tenants’ Union spokesperson David Hendry to CTV News

Meanwhile, organizer Dave Diewert, with Stop Demovictions Burnaby, told News 1130 that renters in buildings should find out if their neighbours can afford to pay their rent.

If there is even one or two people who can’t afford it, Diewert said everyone should refuse to pay.

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“It shields people who aren’t able to pay rent for all kinds of reasons from being particularly targeted by landlords for harassment or aggression,” he said.

But rather than a rent strike, the Vancouver Tenant’s Union suggests tenants in larger buildings unite to negotiate terms. And those who rent directly from the landlord should have an honest discussion about the situation.

While the B.C. government had announced a $500 rebate to help renters, both Diewert and Hendry said it isn’t enough. 

Hendry said the union is waiting for more details on the rebate to see what sort of protections are in place.

Meanwhile, the federal government is offering aid as well to help Canadians during this time.

For more B.C. news, head to our News section.

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