MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Dozens of south Memphis families say their former landlord scammed them out of thousands of dollars.
He demands rent even though his company no longer owns their property. Many of the victims are senior citizens and disabled.
Shelby County took over ownership of the properties because the company hadn’t paid its taxes despite the county telling the renters to stop paying their former landlord. Renters say they were harassed and intimidated until they gave the former landlord cash.
“What happened to my money and why were they still taking rent when they didn’t own the property,” said Alexander Thompson.
Thompson is angry. He says his former landlord, a non-profit group called the Memphis Area Neighborhood Development Corporation, known as Mandco, took advantage of him and his neighbors.
When Thompson found out the company no longer owned the house he was renting, he tried to quit paying them rent but he says they were relentless. The last money order he gave them was in February.
“They kept harassing me, so I ended up giving them February which is the one do not cash unless you the owner and they still cashed it,” said Thompson.
Shelby County took ownership of the properties as far back as October of 2018 for non-payment of taxes. While the county owns the property, tenants are not required to pay rent.
The county says Mandco officials were told they no longer had a right to collect money from their former tenants. Family members of victims say what Mandco did was prey on the poor and vulnerable.
“That’s just clearly no conscious, you’ve got to not have a conscious,” said Pam Lee, victim’s family member.
Lee says many of the renters also get Section 8, so Lee says Mandco not only stole from renters but the government as well. No one inside the Mandco office would come to the door and talk to us. We also went to homes of those in charge but no answer.
Victims and their families say what happened was criminal.
“You knew this was wrong you knew you didn’t own this property, so yes, I believe there should be some people should be held responsible and the people at Mandco should be the one,” said Lee.