Charlotte is the 2nd largest banking city in the United States and is home to some of the most rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods in the country.
In late April, a mass eviction at a local hotel was stopped by tenants and activists. Tenants at the hotel had been issued 24 hour notices to vacate verbally from an employee while the owner, Nash Patel, lied to media. Tenants confronted Patel in front of news cameras and pointed out his true intention of converting the hotel into a field hospital by renting it out to the state, just like Patel had done at his other property. After news crews left the scene, Patel disconnected wifi services and attempted to close laundry rooms and public spaces in the hotel. A few days later, Patel would call the police on the tenant who made the initial reports to local media and had spearheaded the fight against the mass eviction. In the face of a notoriously brutal police force and opportunistic landlords, the tenants of Charlotte time and time again stand together in strength.
At the onset of the new economic depression and local stay-at-home orders, we confronted Charlotte’s mayor, Vi Lyles, outside of her home to demand work or wages. During the ongoing crisis, we have been organizing tenants in the working class neighborhoods of southwest Charlotte, building up community self-defense and posting demands.
We posted tenants’ demands to the door of the leasing office of Cityview Apartments in late March. Due to landlord negligence, four buildings in the complex caught fire and displaced tenants were given little to no compensation. Demands listed were immediate rent stoppage, repairs to electrical wiring, compensation to those displaced by the fire, end to rent hikes, and the eradication of mold throughout the property. In April a banner was posted nearby the apartments calling for the firing of property manager Yessica, an end to racist harassment and the return of all property stolen by management. Solidarity within the complex is building, as tenants displaced by the fire continue to fight for those still living in the complex.
“Capitalism is connected to bigotry, racism, sexism. Capitalism is the biggest man stays on top. He steps on the smaller man’s back to climb to the top.”Tenant of Ponderosa Apartments
Tenants living at Ponderosa Apartments, located in the historically Black, working-class neighborhood of Ponderosa, understand the need to come together to fight back against parasitic landlords and rent hikes with one tenant saying, “Capitalism is connected to bigotry, racism, sexism. Capitalism is the biggest man stays on top. He steps on the smaller man’s back to climb to the top”.
On May 1, residents on rent strike gathered in front of the leasing office to demand an end to rent hikes, a stoppage on arbitrary towing, repairs to roofs and essential fixes, and an end to late fees during the pandemic. During the pandemic, property management had been raising rent at the complex anywhere from $30-$200 per month. Banners and posters have been put up around the complex stating, “Stop the rent hikes” and “Get Organized! Combat & Resist Slumlords!”