Landlord Abandons Building Leaving Tenants In The Cold

Updated 3 years ago

A Waterville woman and her son say the building they’ve lived in for the past two years has been abandoned by their landlord without any warning. Now they say they have nowhere to go.Elizabeth Handy and her son Jeremy, both disabled, have desperately tried to reach their landlord for nearly 3 weeks. The only response they get is a voicemail recording that won’t allow them to leave a message. “We don’t owe him any rent money. We’re quiet, we’re clean, we don’t do drugs. we don’t do anything. We don’t even have company except for family,” Handy told me at her kitchen table earlier in the week. In the last two weeks, since the last time they spoke with their landlord, Handy says the heating oil has run out, the hot water doesn’t work, and the sewer company has now placed a lien on the property. The last contact they had with the landlord was 3 weeks ago when he left a message saying he’d be there on the November 3rd to collect the rent. “We never heard from him,” Handy said. “He never came to collect the rent nothing. We still haven’t heard from him.”Handy says he also has their $600 security deposit. “He at least should owe us the respect and consideration to give us an advance warning that this was gonna happen and not just leave us high and dry,” Handy said.Handy has contacted everyone from the governor’s office, to the Maine State Housing Authority, to the City of Waterville but nobody seems to be able to help. TV5 News also contacted several organizations and state agencies looking for answers. Those agencies include The Maine State Housing Authority, Pine Tree Legal Services, Kennebec Valley Community Action Program, and the Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection. These agencies either can’t offer any assistance or have not returned our phone calls or emails. Handy says even if they save their rent money, it will take months to save enough for deposits on a new place. The Maine State Housing Authority says there’s no fund to help people with rental deposits. “They said you’re well within your rights to put oil in and deduct it from the rent, but if I do that, I’ve got absolutely no money to bank on to try to move,” Handy said. “They said go to the shelter. Well if I go to the shelter, what do I do with everything I own?”With their bank accounts almost empty and nobody who can offer assistance, they feel helpless. “We’re kind of caught between a rock and a hard place right now, I guess you could say you know. It’s gonna be a tough winter going through this. I don’t know what we’re gonna do.”


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