Tenant Lost Job Due to Covid and Landlord Takes Off Her Front Door
Many people are going through a rough time financially due to the pandemic. In the beginning of the pandemic when layoffs started to happen, many landlords were being more lenient with rent payments. According to KTVI, a Hannah McGee of Missouri lost her restaurant job due to the coronavirus pandemic and is behind on her rent and owed her landlord $1,000. Here is the heartbreaking part. Her landlord took off her front door because she was two months late on rent.
McGee said she lived in the apartment for three years and her mom has rented the apartment next door for the last thirteen years. They say they've never had any issues with the landlord. She has paid her rent every month and her landlord has always been easy to deal with. Now, it’s a different story. And what makes it so sad is that she lost her job due to COVID.
McGee said it is so cold, especially at night, so she put her closet doors where the front door was to try and keep it warm inside. Her 4-year-old daughter is staying with the grandmother next door to stay warm.
So is this even legal? A local attorney, Rob Swearingen with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, says it violates a state statute. Swearingen said his law office is getting calls at least once a day from tenants who are having their doors or locks taken off, and some even having their utilities shut off.
We try to call landlords and inform them that they’re violating the law by illegally evicting people. You can only be evicted by a court order and with the sheriff present executing an eviction, and right now, that can’t be done in St. Louis City and St. Louis County. The landlord needs to realize that the landlord has committed a tort and is liable for anything that happens to this tenant. It’s more than negligence, it’s intentional infliction of emotional distress. It’s a violation of Missouri statutes and its unlawful eviction. – Rob Sweatingen, Attorney
I can’t imagine how difficult this must be for this poor woman. Especially during the holidays.
My Christmas tree is right next to my door frame where there’s no door. I don’t know how we’re going to open presents on Christmas like that,” she added. “At least we have three walls. All I can do is find the humor in it and try to get by. I mean, a lot of people go through worse. – Hannah McGee
A friend has set up a GoFundMe to help McGee with her expenses. Tommy Marler says on the GoFundMe page that his best friend is the kindest most generous person he knows. He says that she took him when into her home when he was a homeless stranger. He said after living in the woods for 3 years she literally saved his life.
After the local news shared her story, things turned around for Hannah and her daughter. The landlord put her door back on and the GoFundMe account raised enough for her to pay get caught up on rent and other finances.
I love when a sad story has a happy ending.