Coronavirus: Renters call for nationwide strike amid COVID-19 pandemic

Desperate Kiwi renters are demanding the Government help them as the COVID-19 lockdown draws on.

Rent Strike Aotearoa (RSA) is calling for a rent strike throughout the coronavirus pandemic and has launched an online pledge urging people to join them.

"Renters have been struggling in New Zealand long before COVID-19," said RSA spokesperson Alex in a statement on Wednesday.

"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."

RSA has six demands for the Government throughout the pandemic.

 It asks for an "immediate" amnesty from rent and mortgage payments, long term rent caps and for the Government to buy unoccupied homes.

As well as this RSA asks that all obligations of payment for temporary emergency housing are removed, no tenants to be left with fines or debt and no bad references be given for tenants. 

The rent strike can be joined here. 

Alex says participants don't need to worry about being put at risk. 

"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."

If you are unable to join the rent strike RSA says there are other ways to contribute such as putting money towards a strike fund which will support those who are refusing to pay rent with potential legal fees.

Newshub has contacted the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand for comment.