CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE)– A Charlotte hotel that charges weekly rent is publicly shaming tenants who are struggling to pay.
“Oh I’m pissed, to be honest with you, I’m pissed,” said Jonteiz Barrier, who lives at the hotel on Nations Ford Road.
Barrier feels violated and humiliated after his driver’s license – and 18 others – were posted on a “Wall of Shame” poster board that was displayed in the lobby. The board showed licenses containing sensitive information and the amount of unpaid rent allegedly owed.
“Ya’ll could have talked to us. The owner could have talked to us,” said Barrier, who owes around $2700. “They could have set up a plan. This could have been done so much better.”
About a dozen residents told FOX 46 the poster was placed inside the lobby by the property manager who is white. All of the 19 residents publicly shamed are Black, residents say.
FOX 46 reporter Matt Grant went inside the hotel and did not see the poster board in the lobby, suggesting it was moved.
A woman who identified herself as the property manager, Robin Mcneely, said “you do not want to hear” her side of the story. When FOX 46’s Matt Grant told her we, did she said she had no comment except to say tenants can speak with an attorney if they wish.
Barrier says he has fallen on hard times during the pandemic.
“The hours weren’t there,” he said. “I had a job but not making the money because I work in restaurants.”
Shana Jones has been living here for the past year and pays $280 a week in rent, she said. Jones says she has previously been a victim of identity theft and worries about that happening again after her driver’s license was also displayed. Heading into tax season, she says the hotel put her and her kids at risk.
“I feel you jeopardized the safety of myself and my children by putting my information out there,” she said.
She admits owing money, saying her unemployment ran out. She has been unable to work recently due to a high risk pregnancy, she said.
“We’re trying to do the best we can, but it’s very hard when we’re stuck in the middle of a pandemic,” Jones said.
Last month, the governor extended the state’s eviction moratorium until the end of January.
“The landlord’s asking for a lawsuit. Whoever is being targeted would absolutely have grounds for a civil lawsuit or also some type of criminal harassment,” said FOX 46 chief legal correspondent Seema Iyer. “This is absolutely a violation of someone’s rights,” she said.