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Disabled veteran fears homelessness after $1,100 rent increase

Laura Guilmain speaks to Contact 5 consumer investigative reporter Jessica Bruno after receiving rent notice from landlord
Posted at 2:54 PM, Apr 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-21 15:00:50-04

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — A disabled veteran is fearing she will be out on the street due to a $1,100 monthly rent increase.

Laura Guilmain spoke to Contact 5's consumer investigative reporter Jessica Bruno after she received a recent notice from her landlord.

"Cardboard box by the beach is great. But where does my stuff go? So I'm left with absolutely nothing," Guilmain told WPTV.

Her rent is going up from $2,100 a month to $3,200 a month.

"I thought it was a typo," she said, recalling when she first received the notification.

Guilmain's HUD voucher for homeless veterans won't cover the increase. While the housing authority did agree to give her $400 more a month for the rent — meaning she could pay $2,450 — her landlord allegedly said that won't cut it.

"They can make more money, of course. It's greed," Guilmain said. "She knows she can get that. The housing market is limited to none. It's new. It's nice. It's central to everything."

Her current house is only 2.5 miles away from her daughter's high school, where she is a senior. It's also just down the road from the Veteran Affairs hospital. She told WPTV those are even more reasons why she wants to be able to stay in her home.

"I've had three brain surgeries," Guilmain said. "I have PTSD, military sexual assault PTSD, anxiety, depression, along with an issue with my brain."

Laura Guilmain speaks to WPTV's Jessica Bruno
Laura Guilmain tells WPTV consumer investigative reporter Jessica Bruno that her landlord can make more money with another tenant in the home.

Because of that, she told WPTV she is constantly having to go to the nearby VA for testing.

"Nobody cares," she said. "They don't care."

The house has been home to Guilmain and her daughter, Karson, for three years, without any rent increases — until now.

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Karson plays varsity soccer at Palm Beach Gardens Community High School, and she doesn't graduate until next spring.

"She graduates. She can go," Guilmain said. "I don't care where I end up. I just need something for her for one year."

WPTV called Guilmain's landlord, Amanda Ramnauth, and sent her an email. She didn't reply.

front door to Laura Guilmain's home
Has Laura Guilmain's landlord shut the door on her housing future?

The letter blames the rent increase on "unforeseen circumstances." Guilmain has to be out of the home in nine days.

So, she's spending her time contacting nonprofits that help veterans, trying to figure out what to do next.

"We have veterans here that have problems and nobody's helping," Guilmain said. "So it's not just me. It's a lot of people being affected, and my heart goes out for them."

Editor's Note: Ramnauth eventually replied to Bruno on April 28, saying she has given Guilmain until the end of May to stay in her home.