Being a single parent is by no means an easy job. Doing a job that typically takes two people is hard work, but this mother knew that her kids relied on her. So she did everything she could to make sure that they always had a roof over their heads.
No one enjoys the time of the month when the bills eat up their paycheck faster than the money was made. And rent is one of the biggest bills that most people can’t avoid. Even though none of us want to part with our hard earned money, we do what needs to be done. But this woman found a way to cleverly get out of paying rent.
This single mom wondered how she would make ends meet when she moved into a large three-bedroom home in a prominent neighborhood. The rent would be taken care of by the company for a little while, but she could eventually end up paying extremely high fees. The not knowing was the worst part.
Her story of renting a house in Indianapolis, Indiana is one of the strangest stories you’ll ever hear. It was the year 2005 when Lisa Hardy had just packed up her kids and moved to a new house for a new job. She was finally catching a break and she was just going with the flow of things. She decided to worry about the rest later on.
The house, with its quiet streets and large backyard, was much bigger than anything the small family of four was used to. Lisa’s kids immediately fell in love with the home and spent the afternoon running and playing through the halls, claiming their bedrooms. But the kids would never be let in on Lisa’s secret.
The family finally had a place to call home, but unfortunately, it wasn’t going to be permanent. Would Lisa be able to find a home before they’re kicked out, or would they end up on the street?
After the children were put to bed, Lisa laid in her own bed, thinking about her new start. She finally had a good job as an agent with the company, Showhomes Property Management, which is how she got her new home in the first place. The company had owned a couple properties and they had let her stay in one until she could get her own. They never discussed the rent or a timeline.
The uncertain terms of the “agreement” made Lisa extremely uneasy, causing her to experience sleepless nights full of anxiety. When you have three mouths to feed, money typically didn’t stay around for too long. Lisa decided to start saving money for the day when she needed to move, whenever that was.
It was a year later and Lisa was still being quiet about the rent, hoping it would remain undiscussed when something horrible happened. An unexpected mortgage disaster hit Indiana in 2006. The entire country referred to it as the “subprime mortgage crisis”, which eventually turned into the Great Recession of the late 2000s. Lisa realized her job was at risk.
A higher demand for mortgages and mortgage-backed securities were mainly to blame for the mortgage crisis. Showhomes Property Management started laying off a large portion of their employees, including Lisa. Oddly enough, the company fell under after the CEO was arrested for mortgage fraud. Lisa immediately began to worry about becoming homeless again.
Lisa was convinced that the rent bills would start showing up. She dreaded going to the mailbox, or even worse, a new landlord showing up at the house to evict her family. This rent-free location, provided by her former company, was only supposed to be temporary. Lisa had no clue what was going to happen, so she did what she could: she stayed still.
Lisa had a hard time finding a new job. Thanks to the current state of the economy, finding a real estate job was nearly impossible. Considering she didn’t want to draw attention to her potentially illegal actions, Lisa used her savings to make sure that her utility bills were always paid on time.
Lisa’s home was just one of many that weren’t claimed by owners, but hers was the only one that wasn’t actually vacant. All of the houses, including the one she lived in, were put up for auction. Lisa did everything she could to seem relaxed in front of her children, but she was freaking out on the inside. Lisa made an offer on the house, but all of a sudden, it was pulled from the auction. What was happening?
Put yourself into Lisa’s shoes. Imagine staying up night after night, overcome with the fear of losing your home. Lisa must have been a nervous wreck all of the time. But she would soon learn that her rent-free vacation was coming to an end.
Member of the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic, Roger Rayburn, said: “Simply because the glut of houses that the city had under their control. There were so many to deal with, literally thousands, that it was impossible to keep up with.” And boy, was he right, Lisa stayed in that house with her children for eight more years!
The months eventually turned into years and the family was able to stop worrying. As time moved forward, and the house was seemingly forgotten, the two older children moved on to start their own lives. Lisa had been doing odd jobs and since she wasn’t paying rent, she was able to live comfortably with her youngest daughter until someone realized what was going on.
A lot of people dream of not having a landlord, but owning a house tends to come with a lot of expenses. There was no one Lisa could call for help, and after dealing with a leaking roof for months, she had to spend a good portion of her savings to pay for the roof to be repaired, or risk destroying the foundation of the house.
Unfortunately, Lisa’s luck couldn’t last forever. The lots were put up for sale every few years. Lisa attempted to bid on them, but every time she tried, they disappeared. It was as if Lisa was being reminded to appreciate her situation. Out of nowhere, the house was put up for sale for a whopping $7,500! But Lisa didn’t have that money and the home was bought by a huge investment company from Singapore called CTL Group.
Lisa spent the next few days crying and trying to figure out what to do next. She knew that this would eventually happen, but she needed to figure out something soon or she would be out on the street with her daughter. But then something wonderful happened! The founder of the investment group, Clara Tan Lisin, said that she would be more than happy for Lisa to be a tenant, as long as she could pay the rent.
Finally, the other shoe dropped. Lisa no longer had to worry about being suddenly evicted. Even though she must have felt a sense of relief, would she be able to afford the rent to stay in the home?
Lisa was more than happy to accept the terms of the proposal. Without the financial backing of a landlord, the house was slowly deteriorating. Lisa was looking forward to paying the rent for the ability to have someone else fix up the house. It sure would be nice to have a fresh coat of paint!
Lisa’s days of living rent-free were long gone, but so was the anxiety she got from not knowing what the future held. Lisa wouldn’t have to worry about not having a place for her daughter to live, or being kicked out in the middle of the night, but what was she going to do now?
Lisa’s family was extremely lucky to land in that house at the perfect time. A year later and their circumstances would have been very different. There were many people who were negatively affected by the housing crisis, but Lisa found a way to stay above water for her children. Lisa hopes that one day she’ll have enough money to buy the house!
This single mother of three was extremely lucky to live rent-free for almost a decade. The house allowed this little family to afford to start a better life for themselves. But only time will tell if she continues to use the luck to her advantage!
Lisa had spent ten years of her life constantly worried about being kicked out of her home, and becoming homeless with her kids. But finally, she was able to relax. Hopefully, she’ll be able to save up enough money to call the home her very own!