The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Washington, D.C.:
Renters Thrown Out

Oct 26, 2020

Landlords in Washington, D.C. filed court papers to evict one in every nine renters in the city in 2018—18,000 households, according to a recent report. East of the Anacostia River in mostly working class and black Ward Eight, landlords threatened one in four renters. Over 1,700 households were physically evicted that year.

In D.C., as in many other places, the law lets landlords file for eviction very soon after a tenant misses only one month’s rent. The 100 biggest landlords tried to evict one in six tenants—east of the river, one in two. Half the renters in the city spend nearly a third of their income on rent. A quarter pay over half their income on rent.

Politicians decreed a moratorium on evictions because of the pandemic. But when the moratorium ends, thousands of people will face eviction and homelessness, during a pandemic, in the capital of the richest country in the world—a pandemic inside a pandemic.