Covington landlord takes door off hinges after renter is late on payment - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Covington landlord takes door off hinges after renter is late on payment

By Justin Hanson - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

COVINGTON, TN (WMC-TV) - A Covington homeowner is taking her landlord to court after that landlord went to the extreme because she didn't pay her rent on time. 

"You don't do people like that," Melissa Belair said. "If you don't want me to be here at your property no longer, you give me a notice to vacate."

Belair admits she's behind on her rent.  But she says that's no reason to take the door off her apartment, her appliances out of the kitchen, and turn off her heat. 

That's exactly what her landlord did.  Now, Belair is taking the case to court. 

"When the son came to remove the stove and refrigerator, he told me his dad ordered him to do it...this is how they get them out of the apartments," she said.

The landlord, Mike Watkins, said he wants Belair to move somewhere else.

"I'd like for Ms. Belair to find another place to move to be able to get out of my apartment," he said.

Belair said her one-year-old daughter fell out the front of her house because it didn't have a door. The little girl ended up with a knot on her head and scratches on her face. 

"Going into somebody's house and forcibly removing their things is a form of unlawful ouster and subjects him to damages," Mary Maham with Memphis Area Legal Services said.

Attorneys with Memphis Area Legal Services say what Watkins did was illegal.

"If he'd take my door off, we would have to go head up, me and him," said one of Watkins' former tenants, Renee Richards.

Belair says she's offered to do whatever she can to try and pay off her debt, but she says nothing can repay her for the damage that's already been done.

"I'm glad to leave as soon as I find somewhere else to go," she said.

Meanwhile, Watkins admits he was wrong for taking Belair's door off its hinges.  He has since returned her appliances, put her front door back up, and turned her heat back on.  

This case is set to go back to court November 12th.

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