I 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