Landlord forced to live out of car after tenants refuse to pay rent

A landlord and her daughter were forced to live out of her car after her tenants claimed for rent relief during the pandemic and couldn't legally be evicted.

Single mother and Air Force veteran Brandie LaCasse owns three properties in upstate New York but her tenants stopped paying her rent when she notified them to move out.

Brandie was in a debt of more than $23,000 (£16,000) unpaid rent, leaving her and her daughter living out of her car and staying with friends.

She told CBS that she could not evict her tenants because of state and federal moratoriums on evictions.

"I've cried many nights, like thinking, 'Where's my money?'," Brandie said.

"I don't understand how they can give my private property to somebody to live for free. I bought that property. I fixed it up with my blood, sweat and tears."

The eviction ban policy was meant to protect vulnerable renters during the Covid-19 pandemic, but some property owners say they've become collateral damage.

Vincent Reina, a housing policy expert and professor at the University of Pennsylvania, said nearly 10% of landlords in the US collected less than half of their rent in 2020 and that landlords who owned fewer than six units were most affected.

"We're forcing low-income households and owners to essentially bear the cost of that in this current moment. And that's unfair to both parties," he added.

CBS contacted Carla McArthur, one of Bandie's tenants, who said she and her husband could not pay the rent because the family had been affected by coronavirus.

She told the reported: "I feel bad that I have not been able to pay her.

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"We've gone from two incomes. I had Covid-19 twice. My kids all have had it once. My husband's had it once. We've been affected by the virus."

She showed proof of her rent relief approval from the state.

Brandie couldn't do anything but wait for the state government to pay her

"I invested in these properties, never thinking I wouldn't have a place to live," the landlord said. "I just want my house. That's it. I just want my house."

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