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Tigerland tenant evicted after withholding rent for unfinished repairs; must move out family of seven with nowhere to go

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BATON ROUGE - A Tigerland tenant says the system is broken after being evicted from her apartment Tuesday.

It was Tamica Payne’s third time appearing before Justice of the Peace Larry Spencer for an eviction petition from the same landlord. After hearing her case, Payne says the eviction was granted, giving her family of seven 24 hours to vacate.

“I am furious, it’s not fair,” Payne said.

Last month, Payne withheld her rent from her landlord, Dr. Barry Wang, because she says he didn’t hold up his end of a written agreement they had to make repairs.

“Nothing was fixed, they came and changed an air filter and brought me a refrigerator- that was it,” she said.

The document is signed by Payne, her husband, and the maintenance manager Larry Phillips. It says the March rent is waived due to perishables lost in the refrigerator, no working stove. The agreement says new appliances would be installed, including a new refrigerator and stove.

It also says the kitchen sink would be repaired, shower repaired, A/C vents cleaned, and air filter replaced by the last week of March. The agreement said rent would resume in April, but since the list wasn’t completed, Payne withheld a portion of her rent.

“I don’t have a working stove, I only have one burner,” she said.

There’s water leaking from the ceiling in several places throughout the apartment, mold, a broken gate, and unmaintained grass to name a few issues.

The maintenance manager, Larry Phillips, says Payne was continuously late on her rent and he attempted to make the repairs but Payne wasn’t home. Payne says Phillips should have a key to make those repairs. Phillips says he did not have a key.

Now that she’s been evicted, she thinks the system is broken and feels like she has no rights as a tenant.

“It’s going to stay broken because they’re not trying to help people and they wonder why there's so many homeless people or so many families going without because there’s no help, like, you want money but you don’t want to do what needs to be done,” Payne said.

She and her family, which includes five girls under the age of nine, are packing up their belongings without a place to go.

Phillips says he plans to make repairs once Payne has vacated.


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