Tenants distress after accidentally sparking eviction of elderly neighbour

A neighbour of an ageing man says they feel “terrible” after their actions led to him being evicted from the home he has lived in for nearly three decades. The tenant of the block of flats said they regularly went out of their way to make small talk and polite conversation with the ageing gent, who they called Greg, and even tried to become friends with him.

However, the third floor resident repeatedly “declined” to engage with the try-hard resident, shunning them and keeping to himself.

After trying and failing to get through to Greg, an issue then arose in the building. 

But rather than wasting time by trying to get hold of Greg, the neighbour just went straight to the landlord to get the problem fixed. Little did they know that this decision would have significant consequences for Greg.

Writing in to Slate.com’s Dear Prudence agony aunt column, the tenant, who remained anonymous, revealed that Greg had been evicted from the building after nearly 30 years of living there.

They said: “When our entire floor developed a mysterious foul smell that began coming into my apartment, I didn’t make more than a cursory effort to reach out to him before calling the landlord. He’s the only other third-floor tenant.

“Our landlord did a maintenance visit to all the units in our building and found Greg’s was the source of the smell, whether from hoarding or bad cleaning I don’t know. She told me he wasn’t going to clean it to her standards and has started the eviction process.

“I feel terrible because my actions are putting someone out of his home, but I also don’t know how to help.”

Greg’s privacy meant that the tenant didn’t know whether he simply needed a hand around the house as he was getting older, or whether he really was a “hoarder”.

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In response, Dear Prudence columnist Jenée Desmond-Harris encouraged the tenant not to beat themselves up over Greg’s ordeal.

They said: “Unfortunately, Greg has much bigger problems than you, his polite and thoughtful neighbour”.

“Your actions did not put him out of his home, and there’s nothing you could have done, save for forcing yourself in and doing a deep clean that could have prevented this.”

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