Tenants protest local apartment complex for charging rent

Tenants protest local apartment complex for charging rent
The Southern Towers apartment complex is located at 4901 Seminary Road. (Photo/Missy Schrott)

By Missy Schrott | mschrott@alextimes.com

This morning, a group of residents at the Southern Towers apartment complex on the West End held a protest to demand that the apartment’s management company cancel rent payments.

The “No jobs, no rent” protest was organized by a group of tenants, many of whom have lost their jobs as a result of the novel coronavirus, WAMU reported on April 8.

A “No job, no rent” sign hangs on a car window in the Southern Towers parking lot. (Photo/Missy Schrott)

Protesters maintained social distancing as they slowly drove cars around the five-building complex’s parking lot, several of them sporting signs in their windows and beeping, according to a video of the protest posted on Facebook.

Residents began circulating a petition in the weeks leading up to the protest. The petition, which lists several demands for Bell Partners, the management company for Southern Towers, reads:

“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. Instead of recognizing the crisis we are in, Bell Partners sends us letters reminding us to pay the full rent on time. Our families deserve better than this.”

The petition goes on to demand that Bell Partners cancel rent payments until one month after the state of emergency has been lifted, meet with tenants to discuss safety and cleaning precautions and determine future rent by income.

“Bell Partners has taken measures to help ease anxiety and potential financial burdens for our communities as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” a Bell Partners representative said via email. “We are working with those impacted by COVID-19 by offering payment plans to residents who have experienced financial hardship. Additionally, we have waived late fees for April rent payment and credit card fees for processing payments. We strongly encourage residents with any questions to contact their community manager or leasing office.”

The protest lasted from 10 a.m. until around noon, ALX Now reported.

(Read more: Alexandria senior living facility reports 12 cases of COVID-19)