Family claims wrongful eviction from Southeast Memphis apartment

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A family that just moved to Memphis from Chicago was evicted Thursday after their landlord claimed they haven’t paid rent.

The family said they have paid rent, so WREG looked into the landlord’s claims.

“Come Dec. 31, we get a knock on the door from, I believe a sheriff, saying we have to be out of here tomorrow,” Leanne Lake said.

Lake, her fiancé Wllie Johnson and their three children moved to Memphis from Chicago only a few months ago.

“We were actually looking for a place in October, and I located one on Craigslist in October,” Lake said.

She said the condo they found in the Fox Hollow complex is nothing she and her family could have ever imagined.

“We have garbage piled up from when we first moved in here, no cabinets, electrical issues, water damage,” she said.

They said when the water is running in the upstairs bathroom, it also runs through the kitchen ceiling vents.

“This ceiling cries when the water runs in my kid’s bathroom upstairs … the ceiling cries,” Johnson said.

Except for treating the unit for roaches, the pair said problems have been ignored by property owner Ghassan”Gus” El-Tayech. They said he accused them of not paying their rent, and he wants them out.

Lake insisted they have paid their bills, and she showed receipts for fees paid when they moved in.

“We met up with him with $1,250 for security deposit, first months rent and application fee,” Lake said. “November was pro-rated because we moved in in the middle of October. So we only had to pay $360 in November.”

Lake and Johnson said they tried to contact El-Tayech Wednesday morning with no luck, so WREG tried to contact him. This attempt was successful, but he was not interested in speaking with reporters.

“You need to leave, sir. You need to leave my property,” he said. “You need to leave the property, please.”

In the meantime, Lake and Johnson are standing firm, hoping a last-minute miracle will keep them from the curb.

“Like the court said, there ain’t nothing they can do,” Johnson said. “The papers have been put in, nothing really they can do. So, like, we’re just gonna have to move.”

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