A letter reportedly sent to tenants in a Colorado trailer park issued a jarring warning: If former vice president Joe Biden wins the election, your rent will double.
“This also means YOUR RENT will be increased to cover these expenses,” the note continued. “Most likely, rent would DOUBLE in price!”
The stark letter, which residents shared with KUSA, irritated tenants and outraged some Colorado Democrats who on Thursday called the note “fearmongering” and a “scare tactic.” The Colorado secretary of state’s office has forwarded complaints about the letter to the state attorney general, KUSA reported.
“We can’t control how this whole election goes,” Cindy Marquez, one of the trailer park’s residents, told KUSA. “We can’t control what everyone else does, you know, we can’t control the results.”
The incident is hardly the only spat between landlords and renters over the election. A landlord in New York state made headlines this week by threatening to raise rents if a Republican candidate for mayor lost, while a Mississippi landlord evicted a tenant in August after she posted anti-Trump messages to Facebook. Mississippi Today reported that eviction was probably legal, because state laws do not explicitly bar landlords from retaliating against tenants for their political opinions.
In Pinellas County, Fla., meanwhile, a landlord was arrested in September after allegedly pushing a woman living in one of his rental units as he stole a Trump 2020 flag she had on display in the yard, WTSP reported.
A man who received an electioneering letter from his landlord in Plattsburgh, N.Y., said the note, which campaigned for the GOP’s mayoral candidate, felt like an abuse of power.
“[It] really felt like my boss telling me who to vote for, because a landlord has a similar power of relationship, economically, over tenants,” John Gordon, who received the letter, told WCAX. “He is the owner of the property I live in.”
The residents of Ed Pagel’s Trailer Park, which is about 100 miles northeast of Denver, were also surprised by the letter warning them that rents would rise if Biden wins the election.
Bernie Pagel, the owner of the Colorado trailer park, did not immediately return The Washington Post’s requests for comment.
The note threatened to double rents if the president lost, and noted that if Trump won reelection, rent would not increase for at least two years.
“Voting is your choice and we are not telling you how to vote,” the note said. “We are just informing our tenants what WE will do according to the election results. If Trump wins, we all win. If Biden wins, we all lose.”
Colorado Common Cause, a nonprofit that promotes voter participation, tweeted in response to the note on Thursday, reminding voters that their ballots are secret.
“No one knows how you vote — including your landlord,” the nonprofit tweeted.
Colorado state Sen. Julie Gonzales (D) said in a tweet Thursday that several tenants had reached out to her about whether the letter was legal. Although she did not weigh in on the legal question, Gonzales said the letter was unacceptable.
“Fearmongering has no place in Colorado,” she said.