A Saskatoon woman is trying to rebuild her family’s life after her landlord threw most of their belongings in the garbage.
Trisha Alexson told 650 CKOM she returned home on June 21 after being away due to a family death, and found her apartment completely empty.
Her furniture, clothes, dishes and children’s toys were nowhere to be seen.
“Everything was gone,” she said. “All that was in there was renovation stuff.”
Alexson scrambled to figure out what had happened, and was told by her property manager they believed she had “skipped out” on her lease.
Mainstreet Equity Corp. Spokesperson Michael Birklein said in an interview the key had been left in the open door of the apartment after June 5, and neighbours notified the property manager.
“They found quite a considerable mess,” he said.
“Things were strewn everywhere … clothes were all over the floor, the rugs were filthy and stained, stuff was all over the tables.”
He said they attempted to contact Alexson several times, and were unsuccessful. They also made a mistake in looking at their records, and believed she hadn’t paid her June rent.
As a result, her apartment was cleaned out and most of her belongings tossed.
Alexson said the keys were likely left in the lock by accident by her teenaged daughter.
While the loss of furniture and clothing hurt for her, she said the worst was finding out some of her family’s keepsakes were gone.
Photos of her late brother, eagle feathers gifted to her over time and her teenaged daughter’s First Nations regalia had all been tossed.
“It’s not fair,” she said, fighting back tears.
“It affects my life, it affects my children’s life. I don’t know what to do.”
‘Who are they to judge?’
Alexson said the phone number Mainstreet called had been disconnected, but she had two others on file that were active. She never received any messages or phone calls.
She was also frustrated at the notion her apartment being “a mess” was an indication she had skipped out.
“It’s my home, who are they to judge?” she asked. “I have three kids, I think (the property manager) over-exagerrated.”
Alexson added she was shocked by how quickly her belongings were removed.
She said she spoke to a landscaper the day she found her belongings were gone, who said they had been thrown in the dumpster the week before.
“I asked him where the dumpster was where my stuff had gone, and he kind of laughed and said ‘oh it’s long gone,'” she said.
The property staff had saved two televisions and a few paintings which had been left on the walls of the apartment, and returned them to Alexson.
Mainstreet also admitted to Alexson they had made a mistake in looking at her rent records, after the property manager had maintained she hadn’t paid.
“We didn’t do as thorough a job as we normally would to figure out rent hadn’t been paid,” Birklein said.
The spokesperson noted two notices were left on the door of the apartment notifying them of a late rent payment, which had already been made.
Birklein added it isn’t typical protocol to throw out a tenant’s items when it’s believed they’ve skipped out, but couldn’t specify what the normal procedure was.
The company has offered a $4,000 cheque to Alexson to compensate her for the “misunderstanding.”
Alexson now has to shop for new wardrobes for her 14-year-old and 12-year-old daughters, along with her 6-year-old son.
She said the money would help with the necessary shopping, but couldn’t replace what she had lost.
“It doesn’t take back what you did to us,” she said. “What are we going to do?”
Alexson and her family are staying with her mother in Fort Q’uappelle while she figures out where to live next.