I Got Evicted on the Day Before Thanksgiving
This article is a true story of what happened to a single mom, a son and their two elderly kitties when a nasty landlord went on a rampage. The single mom (me) has a psychiatric disability, and is over sixty (60) years old. The son is just starting college.
In August of 2010, I filed a small claims lawsuit against my landlord.
They had offered me $150 bonus for signing a lease renewal in advance. I didn't really want to sign it, because I'd like to leave. I've been living at the place for nine years, and the present landlord --- unlike the previous one --- is very nasty.
I've never even paid the rent late, in all the nine years I'd been there. Never complained about anyone --- even though they do annoy me --- and nobody ever complained about me, either.
They filed an eviction claim against me. It was all based on nothing except retaliation against me for filing a small claims action against them. Retaliation is prohibited by statute here in my state, but they had a cockamamie story all concocted and contrived. The judge believed it, unfortunately.
I represented myself, without an attorney. That might have worked out a little better if I'd had time to study the trial procedures. But, maybe not. Because the attorney was so persuasive, he made me forget everything I wanted to say.
It was all based on lies, distortions and deceit, but still ---- very persuasive. Oh, yes, I forgot to say: --- I have a psychological/psychiatric disability.
So, now we're at the appellate level. I filed my notice of appeal a few days ago.
My son and I are still homeless, though.
The worst of it is, the landlords have also placed my Section 8 Housing Voucher in jeopardy by lying to the county housing authority. Section 8 is a federal program, but it's administered through the local counties. I requested an informal hearing --- which I am entitled to --- but the county scheduled it without notifying me. Then, they went ahead and held the hearing without me. They claim it's my fault I missed the hearing because I "chose" not to check my email at the public library. They didn't even bother to send me a notice via regular, USPS mail. I had notified them of my new address at "General Delivery". (Although they could have sent something to my old address. They didn't even do that.)
So far, the county has refused to give me another hearing. I've had my Section 8 Voucher for eighteen years, since my son was a toddler (He's in his second year of college now.). I've never broken the rules of the Section 8 program, never, not once in all that time.
(I do intend to do what I can to get my informal hearing, at least.I may have to end up going to federal court, but of course, that's difficult and scary --- again. I just hate it when landlords and bureaucrats try to take advantage of poor folks. They think they can get away with it because there's nothing we can do to fight back. We can't afford attorneys, and the free legal help from Legal Services is worse than no attorney at all --- at least where I live.)
When I went to the preliminary hearing for the "eviction" trial, I had to sit in the waiting room for about an hour while the two real estate ladies (my landladies) and their attorney giggled about their drunkenness. I tried to keep turning up my headphones, so that I wouldn't have to listen to their insane giggling.
There was a blind lady there, a family who couldn't speak English, a couple with kids --- all defendants in different eviction hearings. I don't think any of them had attorneys. Yet, the one attorney was representing landlords. I don't know if it was different landlords, or these people all had the same landlord as me. Either way --- same attorney.
I was so scared I thought my heart was going to pop out.
I've been so scared of these people since 2008. Back then, the one landlady followed me to the bus stop. She refused to leave me alone. It was as if there were a magnet on me and she were an iron filing or something. I said I'd call the cops if she didn't leave me alone. She said, "Go ahead." I did call the cops, and they told her to leave me alone.
You may be wondering why a landlady would do such a thing. For the answer to that question --- see my hub, The Day I Called the Cops on My Apartment Manager.
Getting back to November of 2010: It was so horrible, sitting right there with those two. Even their attorney was laughing and joking with them, about how hard they partied, and how drunk they all had been some recent evening.
Anyway, please pray for my son and me and our kitties. Our kitties are eleven and twelve years old.
The only reason I filed the small claims action was that I desperately needed that $150, and was relying on it, for my budget. Because the Section 8 inspector guy wouldn't pass my apartment inspection until I treated the carpet with enzymatic cleaning products. He said my kitties made the carpet stink.
But, let me explain.
I'm not just an irresponsible pet lady. I first got my kitties in 1998 and 1999. As I say, they're elderly kitties now. I've had them ever since I moved into this apartment, which was in 2001. One of my kitties doesn't use the litter box all the time. That has never been a problem, because I buy the special enzymatic cleaner every month or so and treat her new "favorite" spot.
She finds a new "favorite" each time I treat the old "favorite".
And so it goes . . .
Once, I missed a month because I had to pay for my son's dental expenses. Dentists are expensive.
Those enzymatic treatments for the kitty's "favorite" spots are also very expensive.
That was why I signed the lease early. They promised me that $150 in exchange. I realized I'd need that to pay for the enzymatic cleaning fluid.
So, even though I didn't want to renew my lease at this place anymore, I had to in order to get that $150 so that I could pay for that enzymatic cleaning stuff for the carpet.
Then, the landlady sent me an email stating that she wouldn't give me the $150 until my apartment passed the Section 8 inspection.
Hmmmm --- but that was precisely WHY I needed the $150. Therefore, it was precisely WHY I'd signed the lease extension.
We got evicted on November 19, and had to be out by Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. We got as much stuff as possible out of the apartment by that date. My son and I borrowed money from a relative to rent a U-Haul and get as much as possible into a storage locker. The kitties had to stay with their veterinarian for a month. The boarding fee for that was about the same as my monthly Social Security check.
Now our kitties are staying at a friend's house. We have to stop by to visit and feed them each day. I really miss them. They're not getting any younger.
Neither am I. I was born in 1948.
To be continued . . .
I can only write hubs at the library, or sometimes a coffee shop.
God bless. Please keep us in your prayers.