HOUSTON (KTRK/CNN/Meredith) -- A Texas mother of two said a property manager left her a crass eviction notice that appeared to make light of her situation.
Sonja Lee lives at The Steeples apartment complex in Houston. On Monday, she found a notice on her front door telling her to vacate.
The letter featured a large, smiley face emoji that appeared to be waving alongside a message that read: "Guess who's moving? You!!!"
For Lee, who recently lost her job amid the pandemic, it was no laughing matter.
"So y'all think it's funny to antagonize the person that's going through financial hardship with putting an emoji stating, 'Guess who's moving today?' There was nothing funny about that," Lee said.
The letter goes on to say, "Pay your outstanding balance, or release your apartment and turn in your keys to the leasing office by 6:00 p.m. today. Eviction will be filed promptly Tuesday morning, 8/18/2020."
Eviction attorney Jon-Ross Trevino said typically, a notice to vacate must be posted on the inside of a residence. In most cases, it must also give the tenant three days to leave before an eviction is filed.
"This notice doesn't have any power (and) will not hold up in court," he said. "Just because this notice is on your door, doesn't mean the landlord is correct in what they've done."
Lee said she lost her job at Jack in the Box in March. She said she was denied unemployment but has appealed five times.
After failing to pay rent in June and July, Lee said she told the property managers about her situation.
Karya Property Management, which owns the apartment complex, later apologized for the notice and said the manager who left it was disciplined.
Additionally, a company-wide email was sent out reminding managers they are only allowed to distribute flyers pre-approved by corporate.
"I am apologizing personally in case it was insensitive, and if she was really trying to work out a payment program with the property or that she was in communication with the manager, then I accept it's truly our fault," said Swapnil Agarwal, CEO of Karya Property Management.
Meanwhile, Lee has started a GoFundMe account as her family struggles financially.