A single mom has revealed that her landlord asked her to spend the night with him after she told him she couldn't afford rent after losing her job.
Gail Savage lost her job working as a bartender at a popular Indianapolis bar and her gigs as a burlesque performer due to COVID-19.
So, she texted the landlord to let him know her payment would be late as she awaited her government stimulus check.
However, the landlord's response wasn't the understanding one she hoped for. Instead, he blatantly asked her to 'stay all night' with him.
Given the inappropriateness of the text, Savage initially thought he must have meant to send the message to someone else.
So, she clarified with him, but he didn't back down.
Savage ended up fleeing her apartment in fear that night without having any idea where she was going to stay.
"The second, I figured out it was happening, and it was the craziest thing. I put Salem in his car seat and walked out the door."
"I was like, I don't know where I'm going... But I can't stay, I was scared."
She Knew She Had to Move but Had No Money
Savage said she had to remain in the apartment for nearly a month after her landlord harassed her because she didn't have any money to move.
She also insisted her landlord was 'preying' on her because he knew she wasn't working and had few options.
"How am I supposed to move out, with no money? That's why he chose to do this to me."
"He knows I don't have a job. He knows I don't have anywhere to go — he's preying on me."
When BuzzFeed News contacted the landlord, he claimed the messages were 'a joke' and 'a misunderstanding.'
He said he was texting with his ex-wife at the same time and meant to send the messages to her. Instead, he sent them to Savage.
"Something got confused, that's all."
Savage ultimately found some salvation. Following the incident, a real estate agent friend found a two-bedroom with a backyard that costs $300 more but arranged to match it to her previous rent.
A lawyer friend also connected her to Fair Housing.
After moving out, Savage said she was going to take legal actions against the landlord.
"He picked the wrong person because I'm equipped for this. I'm not going to allow him to do this to me or anyone else."
There have always been cases of landlords harassing some tenants for sex, usually women in vulnerable low-income communities, such as immigrants or trans women.
And due to the current pandemic, advocates say more tenants are vulnerable and at risk of harassment than ever before.