Tenant afraid stolen rent payment may lead to eviction

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- James and Aimee Johnson have lived in Sunny Acres Mobile Home park since October 2013.

They have always paid their rent using money orders.

"We don't have a checking account," said Aimee Johnson.

They have always used money orders and they usually put their payment in the park's dropbox.

On July 14 they purchased a $500 Western Union money order and put it in the dropbox at the rental office three days later. They thought the rent was paid. It was already a few days late.

"On July 22 they came knocking at my door asking where is the rent," said Johnson. "I didn't know what to say, expect we paid it."

They called Western Union and they were told the money order was cashed on July 21.

"My cousin saw me put it in the drop box," said James Johnson.

Even so, the burden is now on the couple to prove the actually paid the rent.

"Once we put it in their drop box to me it becomes their responsibility," said Aimee.

Really, that's what everyone assumes. But that is not the same as actually placing the payment in a person's hand. And there in lies the problem.

Western Union is now investigating to determine who cashed the money order and if the Johnson's are victims of a fraud.

If so then they will get a $500 refund but the process could take two weeks to a month. In the meantime the August rent is due and the property manager is asking for both July and August.

James and Aimee Johnson plan to file a police complaint.

The On Your Side team contacted the property manger for comment but she left early.

The park owner is Greg Ritzert who seemed surprised when asked about the stolen money order.

"I don't know how many may be affected," said Ritzert. "I just learned about it because I was cleaning their air conditioner."

He said he does not handle the day to day operations and asked if they were served with an eviction notice.

"If they're not being evicted, it means we're working with them," he said.

He said he's in the rental business and he wants to be paid.


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment