Two years ago, I was living with my husband Carlos and our son in an apartment complex. We didn’t owe any money for rent, we always paid on time, I was working as a cleaning lady and our son was going to school. One day I saw my neighbor coming out of the apartment manager’s office crying and I asked her what was wrong. She said they were going to evict her or charge her $250 in late fees because she hadn’t paid her rent yet and she had no way to go get her check from work. 

I drove her to go pick up her check from her work and took her to a bank so she could cash the check to pay her rent. When we got back she went into the office to pay the rent, but the manager told her she would be evicted if she didn’t pay the late fee for $250. I went back into the office with her to try and get the landlord to waive the late fee since it would take all the money my neighbor had from her paycheck, making it so that she couldn’t afford to eat.

The manager shoved the lease in our faces, showing us the part about the $50 a day late fee and saying she didn’t care if my neighbor wouldn’t have enough money to eat and that they would sue both of us if she didn’t pay the late fee. We both left feeling the manager was being unnecessarily cruel. The next day, when I came home there was an eviction notice on my door. The manager threatened us with a lawsuit if we were not out by the end of the month, which was only 2 days away. When I asked the manager why they were doing this, they just said it was because they didn’t want me living there anymore. We tried to give them the money for rent for the upcoming month and the manager wouldn’t take it. I felt like an unwanted dog being kicked out of its home. My son had to move and change schools in the middle of the year. We had to live in our car with our son for some time and had to put a lot of our stuff in storage. We couldn’t afford most of the other apartments.

My husband was able to get a spot at a different apartment complex, but the management was the same one as the other complex that had evicted us. The new management made him sign something saying my son and I would not come to the property, and if we were seen there he would be evicted that same day. I had to sneak in very late at night if I wanted to sleep in a bed, and we did this for quite a few months. Our son couldn’t go outside and play during the hours the manager was there. He had a hard time understanding why this was happening to us and sometimes he would cry. My husband used to make himself sick when he would have to go pay the rent because he was so scared they would just tell him he had to move out the next day because they had seen me. Sometimes I would get off work and want to go home and have a hot meal but my husband would call me and tell me the manager was staying late for some reason and I would have to wait in my car at work till 9 or 10 so I could go home. I would have to cover my face and run into the apartment just hoping no one saw me. These managers were so cruel to me just because I had tried to help my neighbor.

For a long time I had trouble getting a home because of the eviction but now we have been living in an apartment together for 6 months. I want people to know that you have to be strong and believe in yourself when going through an eviction, remember there are always people in a worse condition.