EUPORA, Miss. — When a tenant fails to pay rent, an eviction notice is not a surprise.
But rather than a notice to vacate, a tenant in Mississippi woke up to an unpleasant change in her front entryway: empty hinges and no front door.
“I had just took some medicine, laid down on the couch, I heard something. He was up in here knocking the hinges of the door. He said, ‘I told you if you don’t pay I’m gonna knock them off,'” tenant Marsha Johnson said.
Johnson was late paying her rent and wrote a letter to her landlord explaining why: She depends on her social security check each month to pay her rent, and this month her check was going to be late.
“I wasn’t not trying to pay him, I was not trying to dodge him, I just let him know I couldn’t do it right then.”
Johnson’s landlord, Rusty Bowen, responded with a note saying her rent must be paid in full or she would be moved out.
She also claimed Bowen came to the house and threatened to remove the front door.
And on Sunday evening he followed through on that threat.
Numerous text messages, phone calls, and voicemails to Bowen went unanswered. Finally when he did answer, all he would say is “No comment.”
Law enforcement have confirmed that what Bowen did is illegal.
But the matter is out of their hands and must be handled in civil court.
For now, Johnson’s son, Marvin Conley, has helped move her belongings into storage, in fear that if they left them there they’d be stolen.
“I held my peace, she was frustrated with it she was scared, didn’t want to do nothing, she wanted to move so I helped her move her stuff out,” Conley said.
Johnson hopes to move back in the property.
In the meantime, she’s filing a lawsuit against her landlord.