McKinney Photographer Impacted by Shutdown Locked Out Over Unpaid Rent

Businesses owners say their landlord locked them out when they couldn't pay rent because of an economic downturn due to coronavirus outbreak

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Business owners are struggling to stay afloat. But now, some in McKinney feel they're getting kicked while they're down.

They said their landlord locked them out over the weekend because they didn't pay rent on time.

For seven years, newborn photographer Laura Tye has poured her heart into her work.

“When I got this building it was 100% completely my dream space,” she said.
Tye rents a studio on McKinney’s historic downtown square.

Like most on the square, the shutdown has come full circle. Business are closed right and left.

“It's the hardest thing for a small business to go through that you could ever imagine,” Tye said.

Tye said she asked her landlord for a break because she couldn't pay full rent for her studio this month.

She said they responded by locking her out, then offering her a 20% reduction in rent for April and May if she signed a new two-year lease.

Tye said she was so upset she was shaking.

“To take advantage of us at that time to re-sign an extended lease, longer than we've had in the past, is just not fair to me,” she said.

In a statement, landlord Jim Schwalls with S Five Partners said:

“S Five Partners, L.P. is a small family owned business who tries to be sensitive to the needs of its tenants. In this time of local and national crisis we too are economic victims of the coronavirus shut down faced by all non-essential businesses. Like all businesses our expenses and obligations continue. We have reached accommodation with many tenants. The accommodations include rent relief and rent deferral. We have offered options to this tenant in an effort to accommodate her needs while attempting to cover a portion of our ongoing expenses. However she has not shown a willingness to discuss options. It is unfortunate that one tenant has chosen not to look at a different option that might serve our mutual needs. Further we do not feel this is the forum to resolve this matter.”

While Tye waits on federal funding she said rent forgiveness is her only option from a landlord she hopes has a heart.

“I wish we could get some compassion,” Tye said.

McKinney Mayor George Fuller said he sent Schwalls a statement which said in part, “I understand that many landlords are dependent upon rent checks, etc. to sustain their families, I implore and encourage every building owner to work with your tenants to the very greatest extent that you can.”

McKinney’s city council will take up the issue at a meeting Tuesday night.

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