At the height of the pandemic, many big cities and other local authorities across America imposed a moratorium on evictions. The measures, supported by national legislation, aimed to protect those whose ability to pay their rent had been decimated by the virus.
But, sadly for millions around the country, many of those protections will soon expire.
Nonetheless, there is a humane way to usher out those who cannot or will not pay what they owe. And then there is what just happened in Houston.
A mother of two living in an apartment complex in the city received a notice on her door last week to vacate the premises.
It wasn’t, however, just any note.
The heartless missive read: “Guess who’s moving? You!!!”. It was accompanied by a large smiling emoji that appeared to be waving.
The letter, first reported by local station ABC13, continued, “Pay your outstanding balance, or release your apartment and turn in your keys to the leasing office by 6:00 p.m. today. Eviction will be filed promptly Tuesday morning, 8/18/2020.”
The unemployed mom, identified as Sonja Lee, lives at The Steeples apartment complex near Kirkwood and Westheimer.
The Steeples Apartments are owned by Karya Property Management, and the founder, Swapnil Agarwal told the TV station that Lee is not under eviction, and nothing has been filed against her. The manager responsible for the eviction notice has been disciplined.
Statista reported that in July 2020, the national unemployment rate was at 10.2 percent. In Texas, the unemployment rate rose to 8.6 percent in June, up from 3.4 percent in June of last year.
Lee has started a Go Fund Me account, to help support her and her children.
The CARES Act prevented landlords from taking new eviction actions against renters who haven’t paid their rent on certain federally backed properties through July 24. Now that the eviction moratorium has expired, courts are no longer blocking landlords from evicting people struggling to pay rent.