“Thousands of renters are being thrown out of their homes by phone and video call.”
“Many tens of thousands of court-ordered evictions have taken place during the pandemic, affecting families like this one being escorted out of their home in Phoenix, Arizona.” – JOHN MOORE/GETTY IMAGES
by Eileen Guo
“When Gabrielle Diamond and her boyfriend, Brian Cox, showed up for eviction court on October 15, they were more than a little nervous.
“The two had been renting a bedroom in transitional housing for veterans in Kansas City, Missouri, since January, paying $600 per month for their month-to-month lease. Almost as soon as they moved in, Diamond says, the issues started. The building was unclean and attracted mice, and the landlord would make unannounced weekly visits; at one point, the couple were asked to move out temporarily for house repairs without any assistance, financial or otherwise.
“Then, this summer, they received a letter requesting that they move out in 30 days. But because of what they said were errors in the document, they continued to pay their rent and refused to leave. In September, their landlord escalated the issue, and they were served with court papers alleging they were in breach of their lease, and responsible for the uncleanliness and other damage. October 15 would be their first court hearing, and because of the pandemic, they were told to appear via video conference.
“With the house’s poor internet service, which was so slow that Diamond jokingly referred to it as ‘McDonald’s Wi-Fi,’ and their unfamiliarity with the Webex software they were told to use …”