These days, finding an affordable place to live in can seem almost impossible. With rent prices constantly skyrocketing, it can be hard to find a new place to live. However, one single mom in Indianapolis managed to find a loophole around this and has been living rent free for the past nine years. You won’t believe how she managed to score such an amazing deal!
20. Single Mom
Lisa Hardy is a single mom living in Indianapolis, Indiana. For the past couple of years, Lisa had been living in her home on Eastern Avenue with her three kids. However, unlike other homeowners, Lisa didn’t have any paperwork that showed that the home belonged to her. She had no rental contract and the property taxes were going unpaid.
19. No Rent
Lisa moved into the house in 2005 and for the next decade she paid absolutely no rent to live in it. Although there was a big uncertainty looming over her about the house’s ownership, she still went on living there. She also bought utilities and a security system for the house.
However, as each rent-free day passed Lisa stayed incredibly grateful. “I thanked God every single day,” she told The Indianapolis Star in September 2014. “There’s not one day I haven’t thanked the good Lord for the opportunity to live here without rent.”
17. Mortgage Meltdown
It all really starts to make sense when you take into account the fact that in 2004, Indianapolis was hit hard by the mortgage crisis. The city was hit with a huge wave of foreclosures, with thousands of people losing their homes. Roger Rayburn of the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic believes that Hardy was placed into the mix of that. “There were so many bad loans out there that ownership really got kind of confusing,” he told The Indianapolis Star.
“A lot of those have been cleaned up,” Rayburn continued. “But there are still a lot of properties that are kind of in limbo.” Finally, after living in the home for a decade without paying rent, Lisa came out and opened up about the story. Everyone was shocked when they heard the details…
15. Leasing Agent
Back in 2005, Lisa was working as a leasing agent for a company named Showhomes Property Management. It was during her time at the company that she was given an offer that she couldn’t refuse. They offered her a house to live in, rent free, while she worked for the company.
14. Moving In
Without hesitation, Lisa moved into the three-bedroom property on Eastern Avenue with her kids and ex-boyfriend. “There was really no time limit on how long I would be here,” she told CBS News in October 2014. “As time goes on, I’m thinking they were planning to put me on a lease.”
However, everything quickly blew up in 2006 when it turned out that many mortgages were involved in fraud. It was around that time that Lisa lost her job with the company. The company also went out of business a year later.
12. Fraud Charges
The man who owned the company, Robert Penn, was facing some serious fraud charges. Penn faced federal fraud charges after acquiring more than $16 million from bad home loans. He eventually pleaded guilty and was sentenced to seven years in prison.
11. Still Living There
While all of this drama was unfolding, Lisa continued to live in the home on Eastern Avenue without having to pay any rent. Even though it was hard for her to find another job, she still continued to pay for the utility bills that were in her name. Since she didn’t legally own the house city officials told her that she wasn’t responsible for the property taxes.
10. Up For Auction
For years, no one from Showhomes ever contacted Lisa about the house. Then in 2007, the city decided to put the house up for auction. They put the house up for auction again in 2008, and in 2010 with no one purchasing it. Lisa even said that she attempted to purchase the home for a low price during one of the auctions but it was withdrawn from sale.
9. Financial Help
However, it was incredibly beneficial for Lisa that she was able to live rent free for so long. It was during this time that she began to receive federal disability checks after suffering periods of manic depression. It was around this time that her boyfriend also left her and the house.
8. Safe Haven
The house also became a safe haven for Lisa’s children as well. Her two sons, both in their 20s, eventually moved out. However, Lisa and her daughter remained at the residence. Throughout this time, Lisa began to see a lot of the obvious drawbacks about living in the home…
7. Living On The Edge
Since there was no real owner or landlord of the house, Lisa always lived on the edge wondering when she would be thrown out into the street. “I lived here on pins and needles,” she told The Indianapolis Star. “I never knew when I was going to have to go. It was stressful.”
6. Falling Apart
Another big problem was the fact that the home was in need of serious repairs. Lisa did happen to repair the roof when it was leaking, however, she was hesitant to spend money on a home that she didn’t own. Unfortunately, the roof began to leak again and caused some more damage that needed to be fixed.
5. Selling The House
Finally in July 2014, the house was finally sold by the city. CTL Group, an investment company from Singapore, bought the house for about $7,500. They also planned to spend around $15,000 on the house to refurbish it and bring it back to life. So where would Lisa and her daughter live now?
4. Paying Rent
Clara Tan Lisin, the founder of CTL, informed The Indianapolis Star that she would happily allow Lisa to stay in the house if she could afford the rent. “If she wishes to be my tenant, I am more than happy to accept her as my tenant after my renovation,” Lisin told the newspaper via email. “This saves us trouble of looking for a tenant.”
Lisa was incredibly relieved when she heard the news about the house purchase. She was also thrilled to find out that the house would be undergoing some much needed repairs. Finally, would she choose to live there?!
2. The Choice
Lisa was delighted by the offer to be able to live in the home and pay for rent. “I would love to stay here,” she told The Indianapolis Star. “I’d love to do another nine years, to tell you the truth.”
Although now she would have to pay rent, Lisa is happy that she won’t have to worry about being kicked out randomly. She says that this is actually a huge relief on her worries and she is more than happy to continue living in her home.