The CDC's eviction moratorium extension was overturned by the supreme court last Thursday. This measure required tenants to perform a magic letter ritual to their landlord before it applied to them, which in my experience dealing with people wanting to stay in their homes in the midst of the catastrophe brought on by covid was not well advertised or explained by any state body. How many hundreds of thousands of people self-evicted for lack of information? The ritual could only ward against evictions for nonpayment, so landlords with a spare few minutes easily manufactured alternative reasons to kick families out of their homes. Even this meager help has now been torn away because an Alabama realtors association complained on behalf of their entire parasitic class and allied bloodsuckers. Six of the 9 individuals entrusted with nearly limitless power to safeguard the interests of the bourgeois state enthusiastically took the opportunity to add another act of horror to their careers, bringing them a step closer to lichdom.

When the original moratorium ended, we saw a week's worth of evictions hit the docket in the 2 day gap before the extension was put in place in my locality. Great masses of people are now going to be cast into homelessness and abject poverty. All this would have happened only 42 days later with no intervention, but even this brief respite was deemed too much of an obstacle for the profit seeking elements.

Even with the bandaid in place organizing to keep people in their homes has been a harsh challenge where I am. What models, strategies, tactics, etc. have you seen that can be successful in the current circumstances?

colddays posted:

What models, strategies, tactics, etc. have you seen that can be successful in the current circumstances?

there are two recent/ongoing campaigns in my town that are facing off with shithead landlords to keep folks in their homes or to at least wring some concessions from the fucks. neither is related to the cdc moratorium; neither concerned eviction for non-payment and regardless that latest cdc thing didn't even apply in this federal district or whatever. both have been fairly successful. ill do a little write-up when im not at work
not sure about legal / advocacy front, but in terms of direct action around where i have been there are municipal/neighbourhood groups that flash mob attempted eviction of any residents, blocking access to cops and making a huge amount of noise.

its pretty effective in the immediate sense of frustrating an eviction by drawing other residents or passersby in to active participants that are not part of the network.

more broadly i think it inverts the social shame and isolation associated with housing struggle, a point for confluence for the often fragmented/immigrant communities in dense and speculative zones.
One thing that i have seen work is getting literally every renter in a building to agree not to pay rent. which like... is apparently far easier than it sounds nowadays lol.
both of these situations involve a landlord / property manager / whatever fucking with a whole bunch of tenants at once. your mileage may vary. both situations involve the creation of a tenants' union with the backing of a motivated & angry workers' center whose day job primarily focuses on recovering stolen wages and helping injured workers in the hospitality and construction industries. whose colonized & oppressed membership also happen to be some of the folks living in these places:

case 1. in may, ~90 families living in at one apartment complex were verbally told they had three days to vacate their homes under threat of immediate eviction & cop involvement

they were told their leases were void. the property manager variously cited 'catastrophic property damage' from recent floods or that a city inspection revealed 'sewage leaks' which demanded immediate repair. however, the city said the last inspection was over a year beforehand. after the manager's deadline, no cops showed up and no locks were changed-- just a heap a lies to intimidate tenants into self-evicting and breaking their leases themselves

the families banded together and reached out to a local workers' center, which helped them organize as a tenants' union, lent them a lawyer, & used its press connections and contacts within the city's activist community to bring attention to the situation. tenants held rallies and demanded clear information and compensation for moving expenses if they were being forced out. the next day property management backpedaled, saying that residents were misinformed or simply had misunderstood what they were told, that they had been given false information by outside meddlers... sick of this shit, the tenants union showed up in force at the city's annual budget meeting & held up proceedings for 40 minutes-- prompting the mayor and vice mayor to agree to come out to the apartment complex to talk. at this meeting, years of neglected repairs and maintenance were documented & the city promised the tenants they would not be evicted. the tenants got their city councilor, state senator & state rep involved, who were able to pressure the management company to enter into public negotiations with the tenants. management offered to cancel rent for tenants who would have to *temporarily* leave their units for repairs & help pay for the costs of temporary relocation. no one would be evicted

despite these promises, management have continued fucking with residents on a more case-by-case basis, primarily by reneging on the 'cancelled rent' promise or by counter-factually claiming that no payment was made. the tenants union is strong and successfully challenged two such cases in court in the last week or so & gotten them dismissed.

case 2. residents of a trailer park were informed in june that their homes would be demolished if they were not gone by august 31

this is a typical situation where the residents own their trailers, but pay land rent; it is very expensive or often impossible to move trailers, so residents are extremely vulnerable to the whims of the park owner. who in this case is a reall fucking piece of work. he's been approving residents' requests for building additions, bringing in new tenants, etc, for the whole last year, all while guarding the secret that he had arranged to sell the trailer park **last year** to some developer assholes who want to build luxury condos this year. some folks spent their life savings buying themselves a mobile home only to learn a couple months later it would be torn down if they didn't find someplace to move it to & figure out how pay for relocation within a handful of weeks

these ~50 families at the trailer park, having heard about what happened with the apartment complex in case 1 above, reached out to that workers' center too. they organized themselves into a tenants' union and brought the ruckus. like with the apartment complex, literally every single news outlet in town was been called up, came out to do interviews, and ran pieces on this struggle. dozens of residents came out to speak during a contentious city hall meeting at the beginning of august in which zoning for the proposed redevelopment of the trailer park was discussed; after public comments, the city council deferred a decision on rezoning until octubre

the tenants' union then met with lawyers for the developer, who conceded that residents of the trailer park will be able to stay in their homes until at least the end of the year. during the next month, they will return to the negotiating table to bargain regarding compensation for the families who will lose their homes.

neither of these situations have yet resolved / will resolve in an ideal fashion but both have turned out far better than they were fixing to
I was involved with something similar to case 1. An investment firm bought a bunch of units owned by one individual landlord in an area with lots of them. The old one was a slumlord to the max, and if the city actually did their jobs then code enforcement would have come and swept the area cause the conditions are bordering unlivable. But he kept the rents much lower than pretty much anywhere else in town. The new owners plan to renovate all the units and raise the rent by 80-90%. Worse still, all the current residents would not have their leases continued under new conditions, they would be kicked out two or three households at a time as they do renovations on those units, then have to reapply for the same place they had already been living in for a decade. Even if they could afford the new rent, they wouldn't be able to afford first, last, security deposit, and application fee.

A church that helped support the community center there started raising some noise around the issue, and brought in the org I've been working with to help out, and we blew the issue up to where the whole town had heard about it. The new owners heard about the backlash and flew a representative out to attend a community meeting we set up, which representative of the city also attended. The affected residents got a chance to air their anger out directly at the company rep which was very powerful. Afterwards, the investment firm fired the management company who they laid all the blame on and is working on an individual basis with households on what kind of renovations they'll do to each unit to hopefully keep the rent lower. City services which can help with some moving costs and other things have opened up special expedited pathways for the residents.

Not a great outcome, but better than it was panning out to be. There's potential for more there but the groups involved aren't capable of taking it further, I think.