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

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said Wende Marshburn-Smith, Regional Vice President of Bell Partners Inc. “In [Rachel’s] case, we unilaterally rescinded the eviction notice within days of its filing, making sure that she did not have to go to court.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”.

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