Horrible Landlord Evicts Cancer Survivor Because She Might Get Sick Again

Heartbreaking 16

keyI haven't always had the best experience with landlords, but nothing I've been through even begins to compare to the horrible way NYC resident and cancer survivor Heatheran Kristopher was treated by her landlord. The 43-year-old started renting her apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in 2008, just before she was diagnosed with ovarian and colon cancer. She stayed at the apartment through her chemotherapy and radiation treatments at nearby Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She was grateful to be on the first floor, as she felt too weak and sore to go up and down stairs most days. Over the months she was being treated, she fell behind in rent -- $10,000 behind -- but she was all caught up when the time came to sign a new, two-year lease. Kristopher signed it.

Shortly thereafter, a new management company called Stone Street Properties LLC bought her building from the previous landlord. And that's when the trouble started.

According to Kristopher, Stone Street staff was afraid she wouldn't be able to pay her rent if the cancer came back. So they did "anything and everything" they could to get rid of her: They claimed her new lease was invalid. They tried to raise her rent by $700 per month. They even tried to force her to pay six months of rent up front.

Finally, Stone Street evicted Kristopher, who filed a complaint -- rightfully so! But even though (after seven months) the New York State Division of Human Rights found "probable cause for discrimination on the basis of [Kristopher's] disability," the state Supreme Court ultimately upheld the eviction.

So sad, so infuriating. Still, Kristopher says she won't back down.

"I'm just going to fight this until the end," she says. "I have to. It makes me feel not like the victim."

Can you believe a landlord would do something like this to a cancer survivor?

Image via Jillian/Flickr



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nonmember avatar Cass

This has nothing to do with cancer and everything to do with a history of not paying rent. Still, she signed a binding contract with the previous owner. Assuming there was not a problem with her lease, she shouldn't have been evicted.

lobus lobus

I dont know. The whole point of having an emergency fund is so that you can pay rent on time if you get sick. I cant imagine what my landlord would do if i missed even one payment. And its new york. Its cut throat. The landlord is not a charity worker and she is acting like a charity case but says she doesnt want to be a victim....she should move on.


Yep,I can believe it because it's a business not a charity and they have a right to make money, again;because its a business. But how sad is this. If this is seen as a disability seems like it would be covered by the ADA,but,guess not since the courts agree with the landlord.

handy... handy0318

I'd like to see a more objective version of the story. The landlord isn't responsible for her health issues.  If she became $10,000 in arrears in her rent, I can understand why they would evict her.  The state had some reason for backing the landlord.  There is some reason why each objective agency that handled this case, from the Division of Human Rights to the courts sided with the landlord, because it is not at all easy to evict anyone.

This story just seems to contrived to tug at the heartstrings... cancer victim vs. heartless landlord... without providing enough unbiased facts to understand why the courts decided the way they did. 

femal... femaleMIKE

I am a landlord and I say it all the time.  I am not a charity worker. I bought the house to increase my income not to provide a home for strangers.

I do have a tenant right now with cancer (not that her health is my business), her husband pays.  If they fell behind I would have no choice but to evict or not to renew.  Its not a disabilty discrimination.  If they start to miss too many payments they will never catch up and I am screwed. 

LostS... LostSoul88

its her history of being late, she just happen to be a cancer surviver. 

MsRkg MsRkg

I agree with femaleMike.

I have multiple houses that I rent out and use as supplemental income. I do not use them or run them as a charity boarding house. If you are late on your rent more than 2 times, or I suspect you might be going into arrears or won't be able to afford the apartment/space, I am evicting you. End of story. Most of the leases that I do are month-to-month or short term for that reason. If my renters start falling late on their payments, then that can be detrimental to me, as I use each space not just for income but to also pay off the mortgage,taxes,and maintenance on each house. I am not about to put myself into a hardship situation because one of me tenants is facing one. At the end of the day I am running a business. 


nonmember avatar jazz

I wouldn't rent to someone who may or may not be able to pay rent in the future, for whatever reason. And why would she fight so hard to stay where she's not wanted? This is why I will never understand why people don't just buy their own homes and quit complaining about landlords.

Paula Weigold

I am a cancer survivor.  I think that what they did to her was disgusting.  If she didn't get caught up with her rent then they had every right to have her evicted but that was not the case.  People are too money hungry nowadays and I think its pathetic.


nonmember avatar NoWay

Jazz... not everyone can afford a house. Sure, rent may not be less than a mortgage, but there are a lot of other things to consider ... like coming up with thousands of dollars for a down payment.

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