Antioch tenants fight for comprehensive protections

While the legislature continues to move toward approval of extending the eviction moratorium for another 90 days, tenants say that is only the most urgent part of a long list of issues that need to be resolved. Tenants are taking their fight to the streets and to state houses nationwide with lots of activity in Antioch on Wednesday.

About 40 renters, tenant advocates and two Antioch City Council members gathered and picketed the Twin Creeks Apartments complex at noon. The apartment complex is one of many low-Income complexes that, in total, contain more than 40,000 units managed by FPI Management of Folsom. 

"The local government needs to prioritize people and not these corporate landlords who come in, buy up all the property and make it unaffordable for the people who actually live here," said tenant and activist Rocheall Pierre.

The tenants are demanding that Antioch, like many other Bay Area cities, enact comprehensive rent control and tenant protections.  They say that most low-income renters in Antioch pay 60 to 70 percent of their total income for rent. "Which means making tough choices about paying for food, healthcare, childcare and basic necessities," said Rhea Elina Laughlin of the East County Regional Group. 

"Not only is this unprofessional, it's borderline inhumane. This is why it's vitally important for the City of Antioch to pass these protections for these renters," said one tenant activist.

The say they live in poor conditions, cannot get needed repairs, mold removed and constantly worry about retaliation and rent increases if they request, let alone demand, repairs or complain. "Is it too much to ask your landlord to repair a roof that you're paying for to be there?" said Antioch Councilwoman Monica Wilson. "We need something that is in our local government that is effective forever so that families can continue to live here. We can continue to have a diverse community," said Ms. Pierre.

COVID has brought all of this to the forefront nationally. So, with the end of eviction moratoriums coming and mass evictions looming, this is turning into the power politics of consumers versus corporate landlords. 

"They might have more money that we do, but they don't have the power we have. And money don't drive elections, votes drive elections," said Antioch Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker.

We did not hear back from FPI Management, something that is par for the course, according to tenants.