Woman With 3 Properties Left Homeless Because Tenants Couldn't Be Evicted

A landlord in New York said she has been left homeless and owed thousands of dollars from uncollected rent from tenants she can't kick out due to state and federal moratoriums.

Brandie LaCasse, who is owed more than $23,000 rent from three properties, said she and her daughter are currently living out of her car or staying with friends because her tenants have stopped paying rent and refused to move out amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

LaCasse, an Air Force veteran, said she is essentially without an income as the rent relief she has been approved for still has not been paid to her by the government.

With many tenants fearing being forced to leave their rented homes as the eviction moratorium comes to an end at the end of the month, LaCasse says landlords have been suffering as a result of the ban.

"I've cried many nights, like thinking, 'Where's my money?'" LaCasse told CBS News.

"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," she said.

The Treasury Department recently revealed that only $1.7 billion of the $46.5 billion Emergency Rental Assistance Program has been distributed by state and local governments—roughly 11 percent of the total figure allocated by Congress as part of the federal pandemic relief packages.

The state of New York has only handed out around 8 percent of the $2.6 billion federally allocated funds for the rental assistance to landlords, CBS noted.

According to a recent report by the Housing Crisis Research Collaborative, 10 percent of all landlords collected less than half of their yearly rent in 2020, with those who own one to five properties more likely to have tenants "deeply behind" on their rent.

One of LaCasse's tenants, Carla McArthur, was approved for rent relief in New York, but it still has not been paid to her landlord.

McArthur said she can't afford rent as she has to pay for childcare costs for her daughter and autistic son.

"I feel bad that I have not been able to pay her," McArthur told CBS News. "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."

McArthur said she worries that her family will be left homeless once the moratorium has been lifted and LaCasse evicts them.

"I'm not sure what she may do when the moratorium is lifted," she said. "That's what I'm afraid of, being homeless."

Earlier this year, LaCasse was one of five landlords who launched a lawsuit against the state court administration and county sheriffs in an attempt to block the enforcement of the statewide ban on evictions.

The lawsuit alleged that the eviction stay had "trampled on their constitutional rights, denied owners any benefit from their property, and freed tenants from any consequence for refusing to pay their rent, giving them carte blanche to overstay the expiration of their leases — even if their nonpayment or lease expiration began before the pandemic."

New York's eviction ban expires on August 31 after the GOP-majority Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a temporary ban.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio accused SCOTUS of being a "group of right wing extremists" who have "just decided to throw families out of their homes during a global pandemic" following the move.

"This is an attack on working people across our country and city. New York won't stand for this vile, unjust decision," de Blasio tweeted on August 26.

new york eviction moratorium
(File photo) NYPD vehicle parks in front of a "Cancel Rent" banner hung up by participants of a 'Resist Evictions' rally to protest evictions on August 10, 2020 in New York City. A landlord in New York is homeless after being unable to collect rent from tenants in three properties she can't evict due to eviction moratoriums. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images