The Constable: The difficult job of kicking people out and how to avoid evictions
Constable Mary Dorgan takes a compassionate approach to evicting tenants in dire needPhoto: Video by kgun9.com
Reporter: Valerie Cavazos
TUCSON (KGUN-TV) -- It's a harsh reality if you're struggling financially -- evictions. The Pima County Constable's Office has the dirty job of kicking people out, but in many cases, it can be avoided.
KGUN9 reporter Valerie Cavazos and Photojouralist Chris Miracle rode along with Constable Mary Dorgan as she evicted tenants in several apartments.
13 years as a Constable, Mary Dorgan has faced defiance, denial and danger. This time, it's a day of denial.
She enters the door of one apartment. The two tenants are not home. Dorgan says one of them is terminally ill and disabled and struggled to keep up with the rent.
"This apartment complex was very generous. They gave them another 30 days to move out because of the situation," said Dorgan.
Constable Dorgan scans each room for signs of a possible return. A wheelchair, clothing, personal items are still in the apartment. She says she thinks the tenants will likely return.
But now the tenants are locked out and have 21 days to contact the apartment complex to get their belongings, which the apartment manager dreads. "It's a sad situation for us. We tried to get them assistance and wait as long as we possibly could to see if something would come through. And nothing has for them," said Jody Dawsun.
Time's up. A legal notice is put on the window to let the tenants know they no longer live there.
Constable Dorgan drives to the next location -- another apartment complex. The tenant is home -- a veteran -- who has fallen on hard times and has tried to get help to pay the rent. "He was at the red cross, but couldn't give him money to pay the rent. So not he's trying to work with the VA. He is a veteran," said Dorgan.
But today he only has time to get his most important possessions. He must leave.
Dorgan tells him "Good Luck, bud" as he walks out the door carrying a small bag with his personal items. He replies, "Thank you."
"The best outcome is what happened right there. That gentleman thanking me walking out of here. And that's the best scenario," said Dorgan.
She says most tenants don't communicate with apartment managers about their situations and are often in denial.
"Before I show up -- for the tenant -- if you cannot pay the rent to communiticate with the office-- the manager or the owner -- because they will work with you. 99.9 percent of the time they'll get a paid agreement with you. You'll still owe them some money but they work with you to get things done," she said.
Dorgan found that the apartment managers often give tenants extra time to pay rent if they're in dire need. She says they often have information on non-profit organizations that might help provide financial assistance or find a place to stay.