Tacoma mother homeless after landlord evicts her, despite paying rent

Jan 17, 2021, 7:42 AM
eviction, homeless...
An apartment maintenance man changes the lock of an apartment after constables posted an eviction order on Oct. 7, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. Thousands of court-ordered evictions continue nationwide despite a Centers for Disease Control moratorium for renters impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

There is a new report that projects that the number of Americans who are homeless could double in two years because of the pandemic. Despite an eviction moratorium in place, there are still people who are losing their homes through no fault of their own.

Kareena Lauer was going to school and working at a law office in Tacoma at the beginning of the pandemic. She was let go from her job in March and has been out of work since. In June, Lauer left her townhome in Tacoma to go on a road trip, then she found out she had no place to return to when she got back.

Virologist: Distribution of COVID vaccine bigger issue than supply

“Several hours into our trip, my neighbor from downstairs — she lived in the mother-in-law unit below me — contacted me to let me know that water was coming into her unit,” Lauer told KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show. “So it was going from my bathroom on my second floor, through the kitchen on my first floor, and into her unit. … So the next day, the manager of the of the unit contacted me and said, ‘There’s been a flood, and there is a lot of damage.'”

She was told the ceiling had caved in and another place would be found for her, but that never happened.

“As we’re driving back, I mean, I need a place to go. He says, ‘Hey, the owners are really sorry, but you just have to move. They’ll give you your deposit back.’ … I contacted the city and the city said, ‘They can’t send you out, they can’t evict you. It’s called a constructive eviction. They can’t do that. So they need to relocate you and they need to pay you relocation costs,'” she said.

Report: Amazon now has more employees than Boeing in WA

“So then they finally sent me a 20-day notice to vacate,” Lauer explained. “After three times of telling me I could move in, they sent me a notice to vacate. So I contacted the city and I had the city come do an inspection because they weren’t allowed to do that. At that point they said, ‘We will relocate you. You cannot move back in.’ They just wouldn’t repair it. They didn’t want me to move back. And after I did finally vacate in November, they repaired it eight days later and then charged $1,000 more for rent than what I was paying because they could.”

Gee asked if Lauer felt like her landlord was trying to make her leave during a pandemic because she was out of work and they were trying to rent the place for more.

“Yes,” she replied. “They are business partners, they are investment owners. They’ve never lived in the home. They’ve never lived in Tacoma, and they did not like the area. It was very clear that what they were doing is just trying to charge more. … And the rent in all of Tacoma is so high right now that I was priced out of Tacoma, I couldn’t live there at all. I mean, there’s just no rentals right now because of the moratorium.”

“So I’m in this position where I do agree with the moratorium, I do agree that people shouldn’t be evicted, but I did pay rent. I used my savings to pay rent,” Lauer said. “And then after that, I used all of my savings for places to stay for traveling so that I could be with family.”

To hear the rest of her story, listen here.

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Gee and Ursula Show

Gee and Ursula

downtown Seattle...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Gee & Ursula debate suspension of downtown business taxes

Seattle business leaders are asking the city to suspend the B&O and JumpStart tax for the next three years as a way to revitalize downtown.
2 days ago
eviction notice...
Frank Sumrall

Eviction notices one of most dangerous jobs a police officer faces

Assaults on officers in Washington state increased in 2022 by nearly 20%. For those serving eviction notices, the percentage nearly doubles.
3 days ago
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Gee Scott: Trump ‘has to go to jail, it’s not rocket science’

Former President Donald Trump claimed “illegal leaks” indicated he would be arrested Tuesday through posts on Truth Social.
5 days ago
downtown Seattle...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

G&U: Why is $100,000 worth equivalent to $49,000 in Seattle?

According to a SmartAsset report, $100,000 in Seattle is worth to roughly $49,000 after adjusting for taxes and cost of living.
5 days ago
downtown Seattle...
Bill Kaczaraba

Big ideas for the city from the head of the Downtown Seattle Association

Jon Scholes, President and CEO of the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA), has some big ideas on how to bring downtown back to its former glory.
9 days ago
airline fees...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Gee & Ursula: What about those airline fees?

What about those airline fees? More are coming. KIRO Newsradio's Gee & Ursula have different takes on the subject.
10 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Tacoma mother homeless after landlord evicts her, despite paying rent