Property owners upset over sex offender tenants

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by ELISA HAHN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @ElisaHahnK5

KING5.com

Posted on November 8, 2013 at 8:19 PM

TACOMA, Wash. -- When it comes to finding a new tenant, Pat Sewell is willing to give people second chances, even if they're felons.

“I help people because of second chances,” said Sewell. “I haven't had any problems. I find them to be very good tenants.”

So when the Sewells decided to rent out two units in each of their triplexes , they signed a lease agreement with Lesta Rogers, the owner of a company called White Feather Re-Entry, which works with people re-entering the community from incarceration. Her job would be to sub-lease the two units.

“It relieved us of so much responsibility, and it was a good thing to do,” said Sewell.

But sex offenders were not part of the deal.

“Even if it's one, it's one too many, according to my lease agreement it's a no, no,” said Sewell.

As a matter of fact, Rogers signed the lease agreeing to "deny residency" to anyone "required to register as a sex offender."

Last month the Sewells and the neighbors discovered that rule was broken.

Anna Robinson won't let her kids play outside since she learned multiple sex offenders are living next door.

"It's unsafe for the kids, that something can happen to them,” said Robinson.

The Department of Corrections says eight people in the two units are under their supervision, four of them are level 1 and level 2 sex offenders. Under D.O.C. rules it is okay for them to live there, and the D.O.C. can't do anything about removing them.

To make matters worse, Rogers stopped payment on a check for last month's rent and hasn't paid this month’s either.

The tenants in the units did not want to be identified, but they tell KING 5 they pay Rogers their share of the rent every month and do not know why Rogers isn't paying the Sewells.

“I tried to communicate with her. I sent her an email. We sent her a text and left phone messages,” said Sewell.

For three days KING 5 tried to contact Rogers. Finally late Friday,  Rogers called back saying she did not know the lease said “no sex offenders” and claimed she stopped payment on the check because she thought the Sewells were throwing the men out.

That could happen as early as next week. The Sewells have started the eviction process.

 

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