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Whistleblower: Family member dies mid-October, landlord says they’re expected to pay November’s rent

Auburn Place
Auburn Place(KVLY)
Published: Oct. 30, 2020 at 4:37 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) -

UPDATE:

Mike Marcil, the owner of Orange Property Management, said there was misinterpretation between the company and the family. Originally, he said the family called and said they were unsure whether or not they needed more time.

Marcil said when the family showed up for the final walkthrough, it was clear that they wanted to be moved out by the end of the month. He said the lease was terminated on October 30, and the family was never charged, and the company said the family was refunded their deposit.

“I think what I would say is sometimes, in times of bereavement, people have high emotions, and maybe there’s a miscommunication,” said Mike Marcil, Owner of Orange Property Management. “I think this is coming down to a miscommunication or misinterpretation, and for whatever reason, we never got to that discussion. We didn’t have an opportunity for us to sit down and walk through it.”

Marcil said they would never demand money from a deceased person’s family.

ORIGINAL:

A woman called our Whistleblower Hotline saying her mother-in-law, who unexpectedly died in the middle of October, is being forced to pay next month’s rent.

“Have some compassion,” said Angela Oien from West Fargo. “You can’t put a date on somebody’s life.”

Angela Oien is talking about the Auburn Place apartments in south Fargo owned by Orange Property Management. Her mother-in-law was living there month to month with no signed contract.

“We had gone through and done as much as we could to help her, eliminating bills for her,” said Oien.

Kathy was diagnosed with bone cancer on October 13th; five days later, she passed away.

The apartment company called Oien Thursday night saying November’s rent is still due because proper notification wasn’t given to them.

“I mean, how do you expect somebody to pay rent to give proper notification when they die five days after being told they have cancer,” said Oien.

We haven’t heard back from the apartment complex, but Oien said her mother-in-law had $250 to her name when she died and was living paycheck to paycheck.

“November’s rent is not even feasible for us,” said Oien. “It’s almost as if the property managers are greedy and money-hungry.”

She adds the family is scrambling to come up with the $6,000 for a cremation funeral, on top of other expenses.

“I mean, why try to hold a family that’s already struggling the way it is to pay for something that they can’t even afford,” said Oien.

We reached out to a local law firm, and they say they’ve gotten many calls relating to apartment issues lately. They say typically when someone passes away, the lease agreement ends. Oien said she hasn’t been able to track down this company’s agreement.

“Property managers really need to put themselves in someone else’s shoes,” said Oien.

The family says the apartment is move-in ready for November. It’s vacant, and the carpets have been cleaned.

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