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Renters Call For Rent Amnesty, Launch Online Rent Strike Pledge

Rent Strike Aotearoa (RSA) are calling for a rent amnesty during the COVID-19 pandemic, to make sure people can afford to access the food, heating and healthcare they need during the lockdown and the period of economic hardship which many renters will face afterward due to job losses and wage cuts.

“Those not eligible for or not receiving the wage subsidy are struggling with living costs in particular. Sex workers, casual workers, tourism and hospitality workers, and employees of companies illegally withholding the wage subsidy are just some of the people struggling to make ends meet as their source of income dries up with no relief in sight,” said Alex, a spokesperson for Rent Strike Aotearoa .

RSA is organised by renters living around Aotearoa, and the group is today launching an online pledge, giving renters the option to commit to a rent strike together. 

“Renters have been struggling in New Zealand long before COVID-19. But now with loss of paid work and income, paying rent is simply not possible for many people. It’s cruel to force families to go without food, heating, medicine or other essentials as they struggle to pay rent,” said Alex.

Renters of New Zealand are tired of choosing between rent or food, rent or heating, rent or internet. Rent Strike Aotearoa demands a rent amnesty now so renters can afford the necessities and survive during this tough time..

As a group of renters and supporters, Rent Strike Aotearoa call on the government to immediately bring into effect a rent amnesty. We are willing to take strike action if necessary. 

“Rent Strike Aotearoa supports the Emergency Housing Plan put together by Action Station and we demand the Government go further in meeting the needs of people who do not own homes,” said Alex.

Rent Strike Aotearoa has 6 demands:

An immediate amnesty from paying rent or mortgages

Long term rent caps 

The government to buy unoccupied houses 

Remove all obligations to pay for temporary emergency housing 

No tenants will be left with debts or fines

No bad references or rental histories 

How the pledge works 

Renters who cannot afford to pay rent or want to join the strike in support are invited to sign up online at https://rentstrike.nz/ 

"The more people who pledge to support the rent strike, the greater chance we have of succeeding when we go ahead. Think of your support like Givealittle campaigns where donations are held until a minimum amount is reached: we go ahead once we reach a threshold, to avoid putting individual tenants at risk." said Alex.

Those who are unable to join the strike can support in other ways by contributing to a strike fund, sharing the pledge and demands with whanau and helping with anti-eviction resistance. Strike funds will be used to support people with the rent strike, particularly for legal aid should it be required. 

The rent strike pledge has launched on Tuesday 21st April. To add your support, go to https://rentstrike.nz/ 

Email: rentstrikeaotearoa@protonmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RentStrikeAotearoa/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/rentstrikenz

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rentstrike_aotearoa/

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