Your Views: City must protect renters

Your Views: City must protect renters
The Southern Towers apartment complex is located at 4901 Seminary Road. (Photo/Missy Schrott)

To the editor:

While Amazon booms, our neighbors are in danger of going bust. Many hard-working Alexandria residents find themselves with no income and have no way to pay rent.

Your quote from Southern Towers residents in the April 20 Alexandria Times story, “Tenants protest local apartment complex for charging rent,” spoke for many others in Alexandria: “We are airport workers, drivers, hotel workers, cooks, baristas, servers and cleaners – all have been home without income since the beginning of the pandemic in this region.”

How can the City of Alexandria protect renters during this time? Our city leaders must act now:

1) Regarding low-income renters who are unable to pay private landlords either full or partial rent due to sudden COVID-related layoffs, city council must pass a formal resolution affirming:

a) Renters’ rights to remain in their current housing during the pandemic despite their inability to pay partial or full rent at this time;

b) Renters’ rights to protection from accumulating late-payment and other penalty fees.

2) Regarding renters in properties publicly owned or financed, the terms of rent accommodations must be made public. What are time limits on forgiveness? Is rent rolled over or forgiven? How is this information made public?

We are fortunate to have honest, hard-working, responsive city government offices. Let’s support them as they step up to protect vulnerable Alexan- dria renters.

-Gillie Campbell, Grassroots Alexandria