A New York City landlord has publicly shamed his tenants for not paying rent after they accrued $17,000 in back rent, according to a local report.
Calvin and Jean Thompson hung banners that read "MY TENANTS ON THE FIRST FLOOR ARE NOT PAYING RENT" above the first-floor rental in Queens, the New York Post reported. The enormous banners can be seen from the Belt Parkway.
"It’s uncomfortable that we have to hang these up, but we’re $20,000 uncomfortable, so I think a sign is very minor," the Thompsons’ son, Calvin Jr., told the paper.
The Thompsons told the paper that after they raised the rent $100 from $1,800 to $1,900 – the first hike in 9 years – the tenants refused to pay the new amount.
The tenants told the paper that they tried to drop off $1,800 in rent instead of the new amount, but the Thompsons refused to take it. They said that’s when they stopped paying rent.
"I don’t think a $100 increase for almost a decade of living is unreasonable," Calvin Jr. said. "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."
New York's eviction moratorium expired in January. Individuals who applied for rental assistance have eviction protection while their applications are reviewed. But housing advocates say such protections won't last forever.
There are nearly 20,000 eviction cases pending in New York City alone, according to the Post.
Meanwhile, The New York State Assembly and Senate have proposed adding at least $1 billion in funding to New York's Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which has run out of money.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.