Landlord Lets a Broke Family Stay for Free: ‘I’d Want Someone to Do the Same for Me’

July 29, 2020 Updated: July 30, 2020

An Ohio family struggling to break through the financial crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic got an unexpected surprise from their landlord.

Wes Moberly, who was laid off over two months ago from his IT job, failed to pay the rent for June and July. When the financially broke father of 5-year-old twins saw the landlord knocking on the door, he thought his family was in some trouble.

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(Illustration – Mayiorica/Shutterstock) 

“I’m worried about borrowing money from people to get my phone line turned back on, worrying about when my internet is going to get disconnected because then I can’t even do freelance work, or, if I get a job, I won’t be able to do that,” Moberly told WKRC-TV.

Struggling to provide for his family with his almost depleted savings, Moberly was left with almost no money to pay the rent on time. Unaware of the financial bottleneck the Moberly family was stuck in, landlord Ellery Lewis visited them to find out why they missed paying the rent for two months in a row.

“They always pay their rent on time. They paid in May, and then June came and then July and I had not heard from them,” Lewis told the outlet.

Lewis then came up with an on-the-spot brilliant act of generosity after learning of the Moberly family’s hardships: he not only allowed the family to live in his house for free but also gave them $100 in cash.

“[Moberly] has two daughters,” Lewis said. “I happen to have two daughters as well, so I put myself in his shoes, and if I was in his shoes, I would want someone to do the same for me.”

The unexpected gesture of kindness brought much-needed relief to the Moberly family. The generosity came at the right time for the struggling family as Moberly said he had “zero dollars left at that point.”

“[N]ow that we don’t have to worry about that for the time being, that’s just a mountain of stress off my shoulders,” Moberly said.

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(Illustration – PorporLing/Shutterstock)

Meanwhile, the Hamilton County commissioners have announced a rent-relief program for families who lost income due to the COVID-19 crisis (pdf). The county is spending $3.5 million of federal CARES Act funding to support people with their rent and utility payments.

“Under the program, the county will pay up to three month’s rent and utility payments, with a maximum of $2,500 for households at or below 80 percent of the area median income,” Commission President Denise Driehaus said during a press conference.

Lewis’s selfless act provided them the assurance and hope during the trying times. The generous landlord told the media outlet that he has other tenets too who are struggling to put together the money to pay off their rent. He said he is working on plans to help ease their burden during this pandemic.

“Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you,” Lewis said.

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