Veteran is living out of her car after being unable to evict tenants under moratorium 


A landlord in upstate New York has been forced to live out of her car because the tenants of her three properties have refused to pay rent for almost a year – and she cannot evict them due to the state and federal moratoriums.

Brandie LaCasse, who owns three properties, has not received rental assistance funds from the government after at least one of her tenants were approved for rental help, CBS News reported. She is owed more than $23,000 in uncollected rent.

LaCasse, an Air Force veteran, has been left effectively homeless without the income to support herself and her daughter. The single mother and her daughter have been living out of her car or staying with friends.

‘I’ve cried many nights, like thinking, ‘Where’s my money?” she said.

She added: ‘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.’

‘I invested in these properties, never thinking I wouldn’t have a place to live. I just want my house. That’s it. I just want my house,’ LaCasse said. 

A landlord in upstate New York has been living out of her car while state and federal moratoriums prevent her from evicting her tenants who are unable to pay rent

Brandie LaCasse, who owns three properties, has not been paid rent for almost a year and is owed more than $23,000 in uncollected rent

Brandie LaCasse, who owns three properties, has not been paid rent for almost a year and is owed more than $23,000 in uncollected rent

LaCasse, an Air Force veteran, has been left effectively homeless without the income to support herself and her daughter

LaCasse, an Air Force veteran, has been left effectively homeless without the income to support herself and her daughter

LaCasse claimed she had notified her tenants that they needed to move out so that she could move in – when they decided to stop paying her rent.

Her tenant Carla McArthur, who was approved for rental assistance, expressed her sympathies for the landlord’s position – but told CBS News that she can’t pay rent because of the high costs for childcare for her daughter and autistic son.

‘I feel bad that I have not been able to pay her,’ McArthur said. ‘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 LaCasse will kick her family to the curb when the moratorium has been lifted – leaving them homeless in the process.

‘I’m not sure what she may do when the moratorium’s lifted,’ McArthur said. ‘That’s what I’m afraid of, being homeless.’ 

LaCasse’s situation represents the current state for many landlords across the country, as the U.S. Treasury Department has noted that almost 90 percent of rental assistance funds have not been distributed.

New York has only doled out about 8 percent of the $2.6 billion federally allotted for the rental assistance to landlords, CBS News noted.

U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen sent a landlord to state and local government leaders addressing the eviction moratorium. Attorney General Merrick Garland and Housing Secretary Marcia L. Fudge also signed onto the letter.

‘We are writing to request your urgent help preventing unnecessary evictions during the pandemic,’ Yellen wrote.

‘Our bottom line is this: No one should be evicted before they have the chance to apply for rental assistance, and no eviction should move forward until that application has been processed.’

LaCasse's tenant Carla McArthur, who was approved for rental assistance, expressed her sympathies for the landlord's position

LaCasse’s tenant Carla McArthur, who was approved for rental assistance, expressed her sympathies for the landlord’s position

McArthur said she worries that LaCasse will kick her family to the curb when the moratorium has been lifted - leaving them homeless in the process

McArthur said she worries that LaCasse will kick her family to the curb when the moratorium has been lifted – leaving them homeless in the process

Yellen added that the Treasury Department ‘remains laser-focused’ on ensuring Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) funds make it into the hands of renters and landlords quickly. 

‘It is critical that renters be given the chance to receive that aid before being subject to eviction,’ Yellen wrote. 

‘Many state and local governments are working hard to get rental assistance to those in need as quickly as possible, and these policies will help ensure renters are not evicted before those resources reach them.’

The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University has released a new report on ‘How Are Landlords Faring During the COVID-19 Pandemic?’

The study surveyed more than 2,500 rental property owners in 10 cities across the United States to determine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on landlords’ rent collection and business behavior. 

‘Ten percent of all landlords collected less than half of their yearly rent in 2020, with smaller landlords (1-5 units) most likely to have tenants deeply behind on rental payments,’ the study concluded.

U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen sent a landlord to state and local government leaders addressing the eviction moratorium

U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen sent a landlord to state and local government leaders addressing the eviction moratorium

The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University has released a new report on 'How Are Landlords Faring During the COVID-19 Pandemic?'

The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University has released a new report on ‘How Are Landlords Faring During the COVID-19 Pandemic?’

The study found that the percentage of landlords granting rental extensions to tenants increased from 15 percent in 2019 to 48 percent in 2020. 

The percentage of landlords who forgave back rent owed by tenants increased from just 3 percent to 21 percent.

The study also found that landlords were more likely to take punish tenants of color with late rental fees, evictions, and the lack of rental forgiveness.

The U.S. Census Bureau released results of its periodic Household Pulse Survey on Wednesday, which painted a dire picture of eviction risk in the country. The agency used the results 68,799 responses to provide estimates for the nation at large.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement on Thursday that the Biden administration is ‘disappointed’ that the Supreme Court blocked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent eviction moratorium.

‘As a result of this ruling, families will face the painful impact of evictions, and communities across the country will face greater risk of exposure to COVID-19,’ Psaki said in the statement.

‘In light of the Supreme Court ruling and the continued risk of COVID-19 transmission, President Biden is once again calling on all entities that can prevent evictions – from cities and states to local courts, landlords, Cabinet Agencies – to urgently act to prevent evictions.’   



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