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Saturday January 5th, 2019

Having a hard time making ends meet? Landlord breathing down your neck? You might want to consider organizing a house rent party. The last decade has seen a revival of this old tradition. Back in the 1920s people who were struggling with rent would open the doors of their apartments to friends and neighbours. In exchange for a small donation, they’d offer music, food, and entertainment from dusk until dawn. Some people believe rent parties were the original raves.

The tradition fell out of favour in the 1960s, but they started making a comeback after the 2008 recession. “At least 20% of Montrealers under 30 have had a house rent party in the last year,” says Urbanologist Ferdinand Flat. “We expect to see those numbers rise as working class pockets continue to be hammered by neoliberal economic policies. In the absence of a real economic recovery, there will be more and more citizens embracing rent parties as a way to survive in a country that doesn’t respect labor.”

Ferdinand believes that within a few short years, over half of Montrealers making under $40,000 a year will have thrown at least one rent party during that time. “We’re getting to the point where practically everyone in Montreal that isn’t a rich asshole will have either attended a rent party or organized one. That says something about the economic climate we now live in.”
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