A Queens landlord who is trying to evict tenants he says owes him more than $17,000 in back rent went has taken his fight public, hanging two signs on the home he shares with the renters announcing to the world — and everyone driving by on the nearby Belt Parkway — that they are not handing over their monthly bill.
The New York Post is reporting that homeowners Calvin and Jean Thompson are using all legal means to evict Marie and Eugene Lamour and their daughter from the downstairs apartment of their two-family home in Springfield Gardens.
But while the case winds through a Queens housing court besieged by a historic backlog thanks to the pandemic, they took the liberty of letting passersby know exactly what is going on, according to the report.
“MY TENANTS ON THE FIRST FLOOR ARE NOT PAYING RENT” reads the signs hanging above the rental unit and on the side of the building, which subsequently got noticed by users of TikTok.
A family member of the landlords said he hopes the sign will shame his tenants into coughing up the dough.
“The signs are very embarrassing and shameful for them,” Thompsons’ son, Calvin Jr., told the newspaper. “That’s the only voice we have at this stage: freedom of speech.”
Back in July, Thompsons raised the rent on the Lamours’ three-bedroom apartment for the first time in nine years, according to the report, from $1,800 a month to $1,900.
But instead of paying the five percent increase, Kathia claimed she tried to drop off the usual $1,800 in rent, but the Thompsons refused to take it — so she stopped paying altogether.
“I don’t think a $100 increase for almost a decade of living is unreasonable,” Calvin Jr. told the newspaper. “There are plenty of landlords in our situation because of COVID. A lot of eviction cases are backlogged. She knows this and is going to ride this out.”
A lawyer for the Lamours, Andreas Spiker, told the Post the sign is a form of harassment and will only hurt the landlord’s case.
[New York Post] — Vince DiMiceli