Victory for Nerva!

Victory for Renters United Philadelphia! On Friday, January 22nd, after two months of organizing and collective action, Nerva Nicolas received a month-to-month lease renewal just nine days before he was to be forced from his home. Even though Nerva, a tenant at Carver Hall, was ahead on his rent, MCM Management Solution told him he had to leave.  But the power of renters standing together made all the difference. This is a win for Nerva and a win for the renters of MCM Management Solution who came together to fight back against the unjust non-renewal. Members of the Renters United Philadelphia Organizing Committee knew that “If one of us received a non-renewal, then any of us could.” That’s why the Committee and others came together in December and January to demand that the owners of MCM Management Solution #stopnonrenewals.

At the end of November, MCM sent Nerva a non-renewal notice after Nerva had been renting from them for five years. Nerva lost hours and wages working as a bus driver, as well as a contract as a food delivery person during the pandemic. Nerva applied for and secured emergency rental assistance through the City.  As a result, the City issued rental assistance payments to MCM, which cover Nerva’s rent through mid-March. Despite having accepted rental assistance from the City, MCM decided not to renew Nerva’s lease and told him to be out by January 31, 2021th. MCM never gave Nerva a reason for his non-renewal notice.

We demanded that MCM renew Nerva’s year-long lease with no rent increases. While the month-to-month lease renewal Nerva received is not the year-long security we demanded, it keeps Nerva in his home and comes with the benefit of being subject to Philadelphia Good Cause protections. This means MCM is required to provide Nerva with a lawful reason for any future non-renewal. In another win, Nerva’s new lease does not include any rent increase.

Unfortunately, our local Good Cause law only applies to leases of less than one year. City Council and the Mayor must pass legislation to expand Good Cause protections in order to stop arbitrary non-renewals and the forced displacement that follows, especially during the pandemic. Because of the scientific evidence that displacement leads to spread of the virus, we have seen national, state and local government take steps to stop evictions. Non-renewals are just forced displacement by another name. Any displacement puts all of us at risk. With continued limitations on eviction in place, we could see an increase in non-renewals City-wide

Even with this victory, MCM continues to issue non-renewals and engages in practices that leave renters and their children living in unhealthy and unsafe conditions. We are aware of seven other MCM tenants who have either lost their homes or are facing non-renewals now. We will keep organizing and keep fighting for more wins like Nerva’s. Sign the petition as we continue to demand that MCM:

Renew ALL leases of MCM tenants during the COVID crisis.

Exterminate all buildings with professional exterminators to get rid of bedbugs, mice and roaches.

No new rent increases or late fees while we all battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

End unjust displacement.

We must have safe and secure buildings with doors that lock.