DENVER (CBS4)– Residents of a Denver apartment building at 14th Ave. and Pennsylvania have decided not to withhold their rent as a group during the coronavirus crisis. The deadline to pay is Thursday, April 9.
Ryan Leach is one of those who lives there and has been organizing the tenants in what was a planned rent strike that never happened.
“So far, several of us are withholding our rent until management agrees to negotiate with us collectively,” said Leach.
But the management company, Olive Bark, isn’t going for the nonpayment.
Kavaughn Crawley, another Acacia resident said, “I was going to be three or four days late on my rent and they put up an eviction 10-day eviction notice where I live.”
The notice on the doors states, “If you cannot work now, you should provide documentation such as an unemployment claims.”
The company is offering residents to pay half now and half later.
CBS4’s Rick Sallinger spoke with the Olive Bark head of operations Vicky Pelton by phone.
“I understand everybody is in a state of fear and panic right now, but it’s not the property owner’s responsibility to take care of the people who live there, financially,” she said
She added there will be no evictions under Gov. Jared Polis’ stay at home order. However, one resident showed CBS4 a copy of a 10-day demand for payment or possession of the apartment.
Some tenants, like Madeline McKenney, told CBS4 they understand the landlord’s point of view, “They don’t have to stop paying their mortgage.”
Several residents are asking for 30% off their rent during the crisis and complained about
lack of communication with Olive Bark. So, Sallinger played his recording of the conversation with Pelton for them.
In it she said in part, “We have to have reserves, we have to plan for a rainy day, everybody should plan for a rainy day and not have a panic situation, a pandemic situation threw them off balance right away.”
That did not go over well with Leach, “Maybe you should have saved your money for a rainy day.”
Leach sent CBS4 this statement on Thursday night: “We are not taking collective action on rent at this time. Tenants are acting on their individual needs for April and we are continuting to collectively pressure management to work with us as we move into May. Olive Bark has explicitly said they will not talk to us about any deals past April until they have legal guidance to do so, so we will continue to organize and pressure them to act in good faith until then. We are happy to report that all tenants had their ability to pay online restored today, and we sincerely hope that management continues to reevaluate how they have historically interacted with tenants.”