TOOLS FOR TENANTS

IN PHILADELPHIA DURING COVID-19

WORRIED ABOUT PAYING RENT DURING THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS? SO ARE WE.

RENT STRIKE! A CALL TO ACTION


The Philadelphia Tenants Union calls for citywide collective rent strikes on May 1st. Click here to read the official statement and get plugged in.


With April 1st behind us, tenants across the city have undertaken a variety of organizing efforts. Though these efforts are at different stages, there is strong momentum behind a common goal: moving the financial burden off of our shoulders, and building collective power to carry us through the crisis and beyond.

Below are some tools you can use right now, as well as the latest news about city, state, and national policy. Please check back for daily updates and share this page widely.

DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT OFFICIAL LEGAL ADVICE

Call the Tenant Hotline for immediate legal support at 267-443-2500

★ WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW

1

ORGANIZE UNDER YOUR LANDLORD AND / OR PROPERTY MGMT

2

JOIN THE TENANT SOLIDARITY NETWORK

3

PRESSURE THE GOVERNMENT TO PASS LEGISLATION RELIEVING TENANTS

1: ORGANIZE

Fill out the form below to be connected with other tenants under your landlord and/or property management, then use the following resources to get started organizing.

PTU COVID-19 Tenant Organizing Guide

COVID-19 Tenant Organizing Guide

DC DSA Stomp Out Slumlords March Update

SOSMarchUpdate.pdf

East Bay DSA TANC Pandemic Organizing Guide

The Tenants Will Win: TANC Pandemic Organizing Guide

Los Angeles Tenants Union FOOD NOT RENT Organizing Guide

FOODNOTRENT

2: JOIN THE NETWORK

Fill out the additional questions on the connection form to be connected with other organized tenants and get looped into larger city-wide efforts.

3: PRESSURE THE GOVERNMENT

Make calls and send emails to our legislators demanding a city wide rent moratorium.

THREE CALLS TO MAKE:

      1. Mayor Jim Kenney:

      2. Your district council member:

          • Find your district and council member here

      3. One of the council members at large:

          • Kendra Brooks: (215) 686-0461 or (215) 686-0462

          • Allan Domb: (215) 686-3414 or (215) 686-3415

          • Derek Green: (215) 686-3450 or (215) 686-3451

          • Katherine Gilmore Richardson: (215) 686-0454 or (215) 686-0455

          • Helen Gym: (215) 686-3420 or (215) 686-3421

          • David Oh: (215) 686-3452 or (215) 686-3453

          • Isaiah Thomas: (215) 686-3446 or (215) 686-3447

CALL / EMAIL SCRIPT:

Hello, this is __________. I am calling as a local resident and voter to ask you to take immediate and necessary action to address the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Working class people in Philly need the city to:

  1. Impose a moratorium on rent payments for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.

  2. Extend the moratorium on evictions and utility shut-offs for the duration of the pandemic, impose a moratorium on foreclosures and residential tax liens, and

  3. Extend the closure of eviction court. No new cases should be heard for the duration of the crisis.

This is a vital matter that is affecting many of your constituents and supporters. The COVID-19 pandemic is a crisis of life-and-death urgency, and the danger grows with every passing day. We cannot wait on these necessary, reasonable, and life-saving measures.

Thank you for listening.

This script was written by the Philadelphia Tenants' Union, viewable here.

★ NEWS AS OF APRIL 6TH, 2020

Live daily press briefings:

  • From Mayor Jim Kenney and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health at 1pm here

  • From Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf at 2pm here

→ On Wednesday, April 1st the Pennsylvania Supreme Court extended the closure of all courts statewide until April 30th. This act extends a previous freeze on all evictions through the 30th of April. The court statement, which can be read here, explicitly forbids evictions on the basis of non-payment of rent through this period.

→ On Friday, March 24th Congress passed an initial coronavirus relief bill. This bill includes a $1,200 direct payment to individuals who made less than $75,000 on their previous paycheck. It also expands unemployment insurance with up to an additional $600 dollars weekly, and includes coverage for self-employed, part-time, gig economy workers, and independent contractors (1099). This bill also institutes a 60 day freeze on foreclosures for homeowners with federally backed mortgages, and an 120 day freeze on evictions for renters in any building or complex that receives federal funds. This eviction moratorium only applies to renters whose landlords receive federal aid.

→ On Monday, March 23rd Philadelphia City Council released this list collecting various resources for people experiencing homelessness, renters, and homeowners, along with timelines of the temporary suspension of eviction courts, foreclosures, utility shut offs, and more. The City announced they have extended real estate tax deadlines by a month (from March 31 to April 30th) with no mention of direct relief for renters. See the announcement here.

→ On Friday, March 20th the City of Philadelphia released an "Action Guide" calling upon the Federal Government for funding towards "Robust Housing Action" - see the guide here. It does not announce any new legislation - it merely requests funding from the Federal Government. The city also released a document outlining their current actions around housing here.

On March 18th the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ordered a two week freeze on evictions ending April 3rd. See the full official notice here. On March 13th the Philadelphia Housing Authority announced that housing court is closed until April 13th. See the full official notice here.

On March 19th Federal regulators under Trump ordered Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to "offer homeowners flexibility" on their mortgage payments. This is not a nation-wide mandate; it only applies to people with mortgages under Fannie and Freddie, and has to be negotiated case by case. You will be penalized for not paying your mortgage without contacting your lender. For more details see cited article here. Click here for the full official notice from Fannie Mae, and here for Freddie Mac.

★ MORE RESOURCES ★

About TFT

Tools for Tenants is run by a small team of former co-workers living in West Philadelphia. We developed collaborative relationships through organizing in our workplace prior to layoffs as a result of the pandemic. We continued the conversation following our termination, talking about the issue most pertinent to us: our inability to pay rent. Our mission is to gather the most up-to-date information and resources to help tenants feel supported, build community, and take collective action. We hope to bring as many people into the conversation as possible, seeding and supporting organized tenant campaigns across the city to ultimately strengthen collective power and foment greater systemic change in this unprecedented moment. From the start of this project the Tools for Tenants team was in communication with the Philadelphia Tenants Union; going forward we will be fully collaborating with PTU as members.

✉︎ tools4tenantsphl@gmail.com ✉︎