Neighbors Save Neighbor from Eviction

Source: Real Estate

Like many during the pandemic, Linda Taylor struggled to make ends meet. To make matters worse, when she received a two-month eviction notice to vacate her property of nearly two decades, she was devastated.

“It felt like the world had been pulled from under me,” said Taylor, 70. “My house means everything to me.”

Taylor initially owned her home, but fell victim to real estate scam that has resulted in her legally selling her home and receiving an eviction notice. The landlord was looking to cash in on the property during the booming housing market. The original notice sent back in April informed Taylor that the property would soon be listed on the market and she needed to make other arrangements.

“I could not sleep, I could not eat,” said Taylor, who lives alone in the two-bedroom house. “I felt really defeated.”

Laid off by her pre-pandemic employer, Taylor had previously enjoyed working at a local non-profit where she provided support for low income families receiving basic services. However, after losing her job, she was unable to keep up with rent.

Despite reaching out to numerous public and private organizations, Taylor found herself stuck and still without rent. In response, her landlord said that she had to buy the property or vacate the premises.

Determined to stay, Taylor protested. “I’m going to do something about it,” Taylor said. “This is my house.”

Reaching out to her friends for support, they embraced her and tried to help where they could. However, at a time of massive layoffs it was hard for Taylor to get adequate support.

One of her friends, Andrew Fahlstrom said, “People listened to what Miss Linda was saying and wanted to do something. It was just such a clear and compelling story that everyone rallied for her.”

 So, Fahlstrom organized other neighbors. They sent a petition to the landlord asking him to negotiate with Taylor to buy her home back that she had been renting after the scam. Initially reluctant, eventually the landlord lowered the price to accommodate Taylor’s budget and he agreed to a sales price of $250,000. However, this was still outside of Taylor’s budget.

“Then it became a fund-raising effort instead of an eviction-defense effort,” Fahlstrom said.

Leading the fundraising effort was Taylor’s longtime friend and neighbor Julia Eagles.

“I don’t want anyone getting displaced or priced out of the community,” Eagles said. “We all believed collectively that we were going to do what it takes to keep Miss Linda here. So many people know and love this woman.”

After a few months, organizers raised more than $230,000 of the asking price for the house. The largest donation came from a local church which contributed $200,000. Taylor was shocked.

“I knew my neighbors loved me, but I didn’t know how much,” she said.

Currently, Taylor is the proud owner again of her own home and is looking forward to a summer of grandchildren, barbeques, lemonade stands, and paying the kindness forward.

Source: Real Estate