The number of eviction orders obtained against tenants at a 152-unit apartment complex in Georgia owned by Fox News primetime host Sean Hannity has sharply increased since he purchased the property in 2014, according to an analysis of county court records by The Guardian.
Records show Hannity obtained judgments approving the removal of 61 different residents of the Hampton Place apartments in Perry during the three years and 10 months since the TV entertainer took over.
The previous owner of the apartment complex obtained eviction orders against 12 different tenants during the preceding three years and 10 months, resulting in an over 400 percent increase in evictions since Hannity bought the complex for almost $8m.
Hannity’s company also moved to evict residents with outstanding debts as low as $232.
Betsy Coleman, a Hampton Place tenant who was evicted by Hannity’s company last year, said she had to leave the property after she fell behind on her rent.
“It feels awful, because you don’t have anywhere else to go,” said Coleman, who is 49. “You’re trying to work to get the rent up, and you promised to get the money, and when you don’t get it, you have to go to court.”
On his website this week, Hannity said that he chose to make real estate investments in ”communities that otherwise struggle to receive such support.”
Hannity’s lawyer told the newspaper that he “is not involved in the management of these properties. Evictions only occur after a material breach of the lease terms.”
Lindsey Siegel, a senior attorney at the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, said Georgia state law made it relatively easy for landlords to force tenants out of rented homes.
“Georgia is one of the harshest states for tenants,” said Siegel. “You can be evicted for being a single day late on your rent – regardless of whether you’ve paid on time for the past five years.”