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ONLY ON 3: Cancer patient shocked when one late payment led to eviction notice

READ MORE: ONLY ON 3: Cancer patient shocked when one late payment led to eviction notice
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- When you get sick, the last thing you want to worry about are your bills. But one Wilmington woman says she's so worried about money, she can't focus on getting better. And now she may have to worry about where she's going to live.

From hospital bed to almost homeless, after Rachel Flohr was diagnosed with cancer she says her entire life was turned upside down.

It's been a rough year for the 27-year-old. In February, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and had to stop working and attending class at UNCW because of her treatment.

Flohr says things got worse this month when she could not pay her rent on time. She says she told the staff at Mill Creek Apartments ahead of time that she did not have the money because of her cancer treatment, but she still received an eviction notice.

"For being ten days late and letting them know, getting eviction papers just it seemed pretty ridiculous," Flohr said. "They had no reason to think I wasn't going to pay when I told them I was going to."

We tried to talk to someone with the apartment complex. They said it is their procedure to file an eviction notice if rent is late and specific situations are not usually taken into consideration.

"At the most I expected a reasonable late fee," Flohr said. "I would have been OK with that."

Flohr says she is hoping and praying for a break, but so far has only had to pay fines to stay in her home.

On top of the eviction notice, Flohr has received bill after bill after bill for her medical expenses. She says everything keeps piling up, and she feels trapped in her sickness and situation.

"I just want things to get a little bit easier," she said. "I want to be able to pay my medical bills. I want to be able to pay my rent and not have to worry about becoming homeless because I've been sick."

Flohr had to take the spring semester off from school because of her treatment, but she has back at for summer classes.

Late this afternoon we received a statement from the owners of the apartment.

"Although our understanding of the facts surrounding this situation is different from those of our resident, we are nevertheless mindful of the stress caused by late rent payments and eviction notices," said Wende Marshburn-Smith, Regional Vice President of Bell Partners Inc. "In [Rachel's] case, we unilaterally rescinded the eviction notice within days of its filing, making sure that she did not have to go to court. We do our best to deal with issues of non-payment of rent as fairly as possible. This means that we have to have in place payment dates and penalties which are evenly applied to all residents. We recognize the difficulties that non-payment of rent creates for residents and owners alike, but we're pleased that, in the end, we were able to cancel this eviction notice."

Flohr is blogging about her experience with cancer, school and even the apartment complex. Click here to visit her blog "Survived Cancer, Surviving the Bills".

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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I do feel terrible for the

I do feel terrible for the young lady in this article but I do not think this story is news worthy. Thank goodness it was ONLY featured on WWAY.

Same ole cruelty and hatred

There's the same cruelty and hatred coming from the mouths of some of the same "Christian" Church going, followers that preach just how Christian they are, on this very thread. Same old stuff... Sad, really. Have some compassion.

Sorry for her issues

But unless you are dealing with a private landlord instead of a corporate entity that has to follow policies to protect them. I do agree there are cheaper places to live but as I understand it the story isn't all correct. Normally once the rent is paid the eviction issue is a dead one and nothing she had to worry about. As for the medical bills pay them 5-10 a month if they dont like it they can blow off. Ive had NHRMC hounding me for long time now part of it when I didn't have insurance and some afterwards. They call and generally ignore them. I'm on disability from an injury and my income isn't even 1/3 what it was before. I told collections once before they could accept my attempts to pay or they could be happy served a chp 7 bankruptcy petition but inspire of everything I'm trying to do the right thing but the bankruptcy code exists for a reason and the sad truth medical bills are behind soon to be a majority of petitions.

What hospitals need to explain is why they bill uninsured and obviously people who don't have millions in the bank these insane amounts when they don't get anywhere those amounts from insurance companies. Seems to make no sense but that's just one persons opinion

I would love to have the

I would love to have the option to move to a place that is less expensive, but am in the middle of a lease and don't have the extra money to pay my way out of it. Once the lease is up I will happily move elsewhere but for right now I'm stuck.
I do have insurance, but have receive one after another claim denied, and while I continue to be in touch my only option to fight them is for me to fight, legal expenses again cost money that in my case, has run out. I don't want to have to file for bankruptcy, but it is looking more and more like that may be the only option if I can't get something worked out with them.

Response to the comments

After reading over the comments I feel a need to post my own response. I have worked hard since I was a teenager, and as I as I had gotten sicker, continued to work hard until the day I had not choice but to take a leave of absence for a few months. I'm not someone who does not work and expects a handout. I've worked full time while going to school had been able to keep up with both.
I have been at the job I work for nearly 3 years, but work a non traditional job as a contracter in Customer service, and as such had no recourse such as SSI or unemployment benefits. All I had was the little bit I'd managed to save in the time since I'd moved here to get me by until I could get back to work.
I had not intended anything bad towards the office staff, and in fact had stated in a part of the interview that was cut out that they had always been friendly and kind to me which is what made the apathy of the company so surprising.
Just some things to think about. And if the situation were reversed, which lord knows I would never wish on anyone because it is quite painful, you would get nothing but words of encouragement and support from me.

Rachel

Rachel. . you focus on getting well. These things will work out. Maybe you panicked to quickly and called WWAY but what ever the situation was it got resolved. Next time something comes up like this go sit down with the office personnel and I'm sure you can work it out to your satisfaction. Get well and let this fade away. You go girl!! Kick Ca's butt!!

correct

"The law specifies that an eviction notice must be given within a certain time period following a late payment in order to be able to evict someone if they do not pay. The complex had to follow the law in order to retain their rights." Correct

Slow News Day?

Daily, there are countless people whose lives are consumed with not being able to pay their bills and / or are on the brink of being homeless. In this economy, this particular woman's plight is not news. Perhaps it is a (very) small portion of a bigger story but, in and of itself, not newsworthy and is shamefull for WWAY to utilize the resources in this manner.

Wilmington Observer

cry me a river

Sorry you had cancer but going on the news crying over your bills is not going to help. The apartments are a business not a charity. There are less expensive apartments available.

The hospital will have dept collectors on you soon so I guess we can see you again on here complaining about them.

A LOT of people have problems paying their rent for reasons worse than yours.... and don't have a blog asking for donations.

Really? So cancer to you is

Really? So cancer to you is no big deal? I have to know what "reasons" you think are worse than being diagnosed with cancer and facing mountains of medical bills and debt, in addition to becoming homeless? You're a pungent smelling feminine hygiene product.

Oh Please!

I agree! Stand in line with the rest of us!

There are so many people in this world who are going through a whole lot more!

cruel not necessary

This lady has had a horrible past few months. There's no need to chastise her. Being cruel doesn't help anyone.

Some pretty cold statements there, bigmouth!

Let's hope your perfect little life doesn't hit a roadblock. Karma will sneak up and bit*h slap the sludge out of you without notice. Be prepared!

yikes

You are a horrible person.

Welcome to the club, lady.

Welcome to the club, lady. If you are someone who tries to pay your own way in this country, being sick does not exempt anyone from their bills. It only adds to them. The fat cats will extort every cent they can. Hope you get well.

The law specifies that an

The law specifies that an eviction notice must be given within a certain time period following a late payment in order to be able to evict someone if they do not pay. The complex had to follow the law in order to retain their rights. Maybe WWAY can chip in to give her a 10 day loan so that her payment isn't late. After all, this article is all about the outrage resulting from the apartment management not willing to loan her the rent money.

Not Fair

First and foremost I am sorry for the illness of this young lady and I am sorry she has had to go through such a tough time getting treatment. I do wish her the very best outcome possible.

However, that being said, I have to take issue with the bad publicity given to Mill Creek Apartment Homes. Without exception, everyone on the office staff and on the maintenance staff bend over backward to listen to every resident's complaint, praise or comment. They absolutely will not answer the phone when it rings off the wall as long as there is someone in front of them discussing any issues of the complex. Each person is given the total attention of the office personnel.

They ALWAYS greet you with a smile and a cordial "how are you doing"?
This complex has parties every month for all the residents. They serve food, they have music, they play games for the kids and they give out shirts, cups and other souvenirs.

Recently Bell Properties gave away a cruise for two and now the contest for a $500.00 gas card is going on. These are great people who have a rough job. The office is always packed and each individual who comes in either to talk or to see apartments is given one on one attention, no exceptions.

Rent is due on the first and considered late at 5:00 on the 5th. It is the standard policy of Bell Properties to file eviction notices shortly thereafter. These people deal with hundreds of renters and they cannot overlook rules and regulations set in place by corporate.

You will not find any office personnel any more friendly, cordial, helpful and willing to go the extra mile for you than the people in the office of Mill Creek Apartment homes.

And not to forget the maintenance crew, they, too, are always friendly, they wave and they do what ever they can to make your apartment safe and comfortable for you. Without exception.

So, again I say I am sorry for this young lady's troubles but at the same time it is unfair and unjust to go on public TV and make Mill Creek look undesirable to potential residents because that is absolutely not true.

You must work at Mill Creek

You must work at Mill Creek Apartments. What a bunch of bs. And I can tell you first hand that the staff at Mill Creek Apartments could care less about the residents. The parties that they have every few weeks that are payed for by the residents admin fees are nothing more than a way to invite the community out and advertise. They are not for the residents, they are for the general public as well as the swimming pool. Don't be fooled. The office staff is fake and pretentious.

Umm..

I pretty sure you can't throw someone out who has a life threatening illness...after being on an HOA board...we had rentals in the neighborhood you could do NOTHING about because of things like that...and they can NOT pay...I'm fairly sure...they rescinded the notice...because they realized what they did and didn't want to hear from a lawyer...I might be wrong...but I don't think so.

Doubt it.

Every contract is different. If the management is following policy regarding late rent fairly, they can not be the bad guy. More than likely, the decision was probably re-sent because she paid her rent and late fees. This story is clearly biased. Important lesson to all: read a contract before you sign it. I'm sure this girl is going through a lot and I feel for her but this is hardly news worthy. And the fact that it appeared as the opening headline on the evening news is a joke. Perhaps WWAY needs to learn how to deliver news that is pertinent to its audience rather than become a soapbox for a girl who's had a run of bad luck and wants to whine about how it's get apartment communities fault for following a standard policy they have in place for all residents.

Karma

As a cancer survivor, I know the ordeal this young woman is going through. I have a great job, excellent insurance, and am paid disability throughout my treatment. There are compassionate corporations, who are running wildly successful businesses.

However, disability is 75% of your income for 12 weeks and then it's reduced. Additionally, you must pay your own insurance out if your disability - just like a payroll deduction. Trust me, there's not much left.

I too have been served an eviction notice (along with a whopping $358 fee for being late & for the pleasure of being evicted). I offered my complex a partial payment with the remainder in 2 weeks. Not good enough. In fact when I went down to discuss the situation, the assistant manager glibly said she was sorry for my situation, but policy is policy.

That said, I find it appalling that anyone - corporation or individual - is so callous. The posts on here astound me. Such hatred. Who cares if it was newsworthy. I've sure seen a lot less newsworthy pieces.

More importantly, the people who act like cancer is a picnic in the park have clearly never lost all their hair, eyelashes & eyebrows too, suffered from bone-numbing fatigue, and rolling bouts of nausea, diarrhea, and constipation as a result of chemo.

All the posts labeling this young lady as whiny, etc., are a sad, sad statement about human nature.