April 16, 2019

Portraits of No-Fault Evictions

We often hear about stories of eviction due to the tenant being unable to pay rent. What about the stories of those who were not at fault?

Here are the stories of two tenants who received unexpected eviction notices. Both paid rent. Both approached their preluding issues with care by communicating with their property managers. The details of these stories, similar to other cases of no-fault evictions, differ by tenant, but the heaviness, shame, and stress they carry the second they receive that notice is present in every case. Further, the demographics of who continues to receive these eviction notices follow a disturbing trend. They are predominantly older, Black women who are single or divorced. These are the patterns occurring in Durham and in the rest of the nation.

The following portraits are based on multiple interviews with the tenants and their legal representatives. Their respective landlords’ perspectives were not included in the stories to avoid any harm to the tenant given the post-court situation that both tenants find themselves in. To supplement the landlord perspective, their story is interspersed with the view of one prominent landlord in the City of Durham. Stories and photographs are by Karla Jimenez-Magdaleno.


A Case of Aggravated Lupus

Ms. Turrentine loves hair. Though her Lupus and scleroderma diagnosis in 2004 limited her ability to do hair, she found a way to continue practicing her passion. An eviction judgment, however, changed everything for her. The eviction process, as Ms. Turrentine describes, was “the most scary thing I have gone through.”

A Case of Depression, High Blood Pressure, and High Cholesterol

Ms. Starks was born and bred in Durham, NC. She is an executive director for an organization that feeds hungry families, a parent consultant, and fosters two kids in addition to her own. Since receiving her eviction judgment, Ms. Starks has experienced high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, and a test of her faith.