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Re: Rent Strike

Posted by TenantNet on May 24, 1997 at 07:51:06:

In Reply to: Rent Strike posted by MikeW on May 23, 1997 at 20:45:09:

: A number of people are agitating for a general rent strike if the rent
: regulations expire. However, somewhere there is a body of law that sets
: the ground rules for, and protects tenants in, a rent strike. Is this
: in the regs that expire June 15th. If they are, could a striking tenant
: be evicted for non-payment of rent after the regs expire?

The notion of a general rent strike is a gut backlash to the nonsense going
on, but not very smart. It was tried once before in the 1970's and more
than a few "left-wing loonies", but even so, it was a dismal failure on
a city-wide scale. It's a visceral reaction that may feel good, but what
would it accomplish, and in all reality, how do they hope to organize it?
Tenants are not "protected" in a rent strike. DHCR and the expiring rent
laws really do not "enable" or "authorize" rent strikes. All a rent strike
does is set up a court confrontation, where a judge will settle disputes.
In it's pure form, a lease is a contract. When a landlord fails in his
duty (i.e., to provide services), he's in breach of lease and that enables
a tenant to withhold rent and have the matter settled. In many cases, a tenant
is awarded an abatement (a one-time deduction for the loss of rental value)
that corresponds to the rental agreement. A rent strike is not "legal" but
neither is is "illegal". (OK - lawyers -- your comments, please).

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