Renter helped repair house, losing house to higher rent
BATON ROUGE - A woman who's been renting a house for years is learning a tough lesson and will likely soon have to find a new place to live.
The house on Wyandotte Street in Baton Rouge has been fixed up from flood damage. Patricia Anders put some of her own money into the place to help make repairs but says the landlord is planning to rent it out for more money than she can afford.
Anders signed a lease and moved into the house in August 2001. She loves the house she's made a home.
"I love my neighbors, my neighborhood," she said.
Recently, she went to unlock the door and check on items she's left inside the house but the door wouldn't open. Anders says her landlord changed the locks.
Anders, who is on a fixed income, paid $425 a month to live in the house up until August 2016 when the house flooded.
"I'm not in the house so how could I pay rent?" she said.
During the last year or so, Anders spent about $2,000 fixing up the house. She says she spent money on flooring and bought a new window getting it ready for when she moves back in. The house is almost complete.
Anders swings by the house every day to check on the house and feed the neighborhood cats that have made it their home.
"I've been here twice a day ever since the water was able to go down for me to get in here," said Anders.
In November, Anders says her landlord came by to collect rent. Hopeful a new move in date would be approaching, she wrote her landlord Gerald Charlet of Affordable Housing a check for $425. The memo on the check said, "First month's rent when I move in" and it's been cashed.
Anders is ready to move back in but her landlord might have other ideas. A whiteboard outside the rental office on Shelly Street lists the Wyandotte house for rent for $775 a month. It troubles Anders who fears she could be losing the house she's known for years.
"I don't have anywhere else to go," she said. "I feel safe here."
Friday, 2 On Your Side spoke with Charlet who says Anders can rent the house for $775 a month. Charlet says he visited Anders earlier this month to collect another rent check for $425 and she did not pay. When asked if Anders could have her November rent check returned, Charlet did not respond.
Charlet could not provide a solid date for the home repairs to be finished but says he's aiming for January 1.