Lawyer says disabled woman’s only path to avoid eviction is go to court against real estate company

PITTSBURGH — Moving boxes litter Mary Ellen Barber’s home.

“It’s been the worst year of my life. I just want to move and get on with my life,” she said. “I have been looking for an apartment since last year for Section 8 to stay in this area.”

Barber is disabled and on a fixed income. She said she’s being forced to move out because the owners, Nexus Real Estate, want to renovate the building. The company said before it took over the property last year, it was condemned. Company officials said the borough allowed it to renovate the place and get everything up to code.

Nexus Real Estate sent Channel 11 a statement:

“We have provided Ms. Barber ample time to relocate. We have completed major renovations in the building, and have plans to move forward with renovations of Ms. Barber’s apartment. Ms. Barber’s Lease term ended years ago, and has been extended on a month-to-month basis. Section 8 regulations that apply to Ms. Barber’s lease allows the owner of an apartment to terminate a lease beyond its initial terms in situations where the owner wishes to renovate the unit.”

A local attorney who deals with these types of cases said Barber’s only option is to go to housing court.

“They brought the moratorium back in place but it was only after she already had this order for possession issued,” said Daniel Stoner with Stoner Law. “Currently, her situation is not covered by the federal moratoriums either because it’s an eviction for the expiration of the term rather than non payment.”