Houston single mom issued eviction notice with smiley face emoji

And you thought your landlord was bad!

A struggling single mother of two was left in tears this week after receiving a heartless and vile eviction notice that included a smiley emoji and “wave” emoji.

Sonja Lee, 33, who has been out of work since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, came home Monday to find the emoji filled notice taped to her door at the Steeples apartment complex in Houston, Texas, that read: “Guess who’s moving? You!!! Pay your outstanding balance or release your apartment and turn in your keys to the leasing office by 6:00 p.m. today. Eviction will be filed promptly Tuesday morning, 8/18/2020.”

“I was mad, I ain’t going to lie,” Lee told People magazine about receiving the letter. “I didn’t think it was funny at all. I felt like they were antagonizing the tenants through the situation and it was heartless, especially during a pandemic. A lot of people have lost their jobs. A lot of people aren’t able to get the resources. I was denied unemployment five times.”

Lee has been applying for jobs online for months and is three months behind in her rent.

“I was overwhelmed because, to be honest, I felt like I was in a big hole and I couldn’t get out of it because I was set back so much,” Lee told the magazine. “So it’s like, I’m a single mother with two boys. I do the best that I can and am a very hard-working woman … I didn’t know what I was going to do after exhausting all of my resources from calling 211, local health assistance, and wasn’t able to get through, I didn’t know what to do.”

After local news stations picked up Lee’s story, Swapnil Agarwal, CEO of Karya Property Management — which operates The Steeples complex — apologized on behalf of the company, telling local TV station KTRK: “Buck stops with me, so yes, I do personally apologize. I wish I had the time and the resources to reach out personally to every one of them who have dealt with any issues at our properties. But I am apologizing personally in case it was insensitive, and if she was really trying to work out a payment program with the property or that she was in communication with the manager, then I accept it’s truly our fault.”

Agarwal told the outlet the manager who wrote the eviction letter has been “reprimanded” and Lee is no longer being evicted.

A GoFundMe page for Lee has now raised over $33,900.

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