The story line for Love After Lockup couple Ashley and Travis just took a dramatic turn! On tonight’s episode, Ashley allegedly got kicked out of her Florida home after her landlord found out that her felon boo Travis was living there.
“Our landlord, he doesn’t want an ex-felon on his property, and he gave us two weeks to vacate,” Ashley claimed. But, she argued that her landlord knew she was dating Travis well before he was released, and that he was just using that as a reason to boot her out.
Making matters worse for Ashley is that the landlord didn’t cut her any sort of break. “I lost around $6,000,” Ashley added later during a confessional. “The landlord is keeping my security deposit and two months rent.”
Unfortunately for Ashley, her jewelry business has not been doing well and she can’t afford to stay in Florida. She and Travis made plans to head back to his hometown of Manassas, Virginia, but the short eviction notice made it extremely difficult for Ashley to sell her things.
“I think I made $3,500 off of everything in my house, from selling probably $40,000 worth of furniture, clothes, purses…” a very emotional Ashley revealed.
What about the Jaguar SUV she drives? “I wish could sell the car, but I still owe, like, $20,000 in payments.”
And the jewelry that she was worried Travis might steal? “I can’t just liquidate my merchandise because I’ll lose money doing that,” Ashley explained.
At one point, Ashley admitted that she may have made some unwise financial decisions that put her in the place she was in. “I think I was, maybe, living out of my means. You know, I rented this gorgeous house with a pool. I’m leasing my car. All of this stuff — I wanted that dream.”
Fact checking Ashley’s claims
When I first heard Ashley’s account of how things went down for her financially, I was a bit suspicious. It sounded like she had put herself in a very bad financial situation and attempted to put some of the blame on her landlord.
Is it even legal to put in someone’s lease that a felon cannot reside on a property? “In Florida, it’s against the law to discriminate against tenants with criminal records,” says the HomeRiver Group, property experts out of Tampa.
However, there are conflicting reports, as evidenced by numerous lawsuits being filed in 2019 against Florida housing providers refusing potential tenants due to their criminal background.
From attorneys Jurado & Farshchian:
Nothing in the Fair Housing Act specifically denies landlords the right to reject an applicant based on a prior conviction for a felony. However, a blanket policy to reject applications from felons can have an indirect impact on minority populations, which led the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (or HUD) to issue a statement in the year 2016 regarding criminal backgrounds.
It sounds as though terminating someone’s lease based on a prior felony conviction is legally a gray area in Florida. That being the case, if Ashley’s landlord did use that as a reason to throw her out, she likely would have needed to battle the eviction in court — something she clearly didn’t have the funds for.
Details on Ashley’s house
As I’m sure most of our US readers are well aware, there was a huge surge in housing prices and rent in late 2021 and 2022. There were government polices enacted during the pandemic to help prevent residents from being evicted during this vulnerable time, but I’m assuming many of those could be gotten around if there was a lease violation.
I say that to argue that Ashley’s landlord certainly had a motive to boot her out, especially if she had any kind of long-term lease that locked in the price. (Judging from Ashley’s social media accounts, she had been in the house for at least a year prior to filming.)
I looked up Ashley’s house on Zillow, and it was listed for rent in September of last year for $2,900 a month. That price was bumped up to $3,500 a month in October, and the listing was removed four days later. I am guessing that Ashley was paying a lot less than $3,500 a month, so it was definitely good timing for the landlord!
If you’re curious, the house is just under 1,700 square feet with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. As you can tell watching the show, one of its big selling points is that it has a screened-in pool. (There’s also a jacuzzi, which I can’t believe we didn’t see Ashley and Travis take advantage of during one of WE tv’s trademark softcore love scenes!)
Ashley’s jewelry business
“I don’t feel like myself right now,” Ashley said through tears on tonight’s episode. “At all. My business has been suffering so much since the pandemic. I mean one time I spent $70,000 on jewelry in one day, and now, that’s how much I’ve made in sales in the last, like, two years. It’s torture, really.”
When Ashley was 20, she started working at Washington D.C.’s oldest antique jeweler. In April of 2013, Ashley’s mother helped her start her own store with just four pieces of jewerly.
Since then, Ashley’s inventory has grown dramatically — at one point offering more than 200 pieces. Her store is online-only, and Ashley has done a great job of building an internet presence. The Instagram account for her jewelry business has more than 35,000 followers, and her Etsy shop has made more than 3,400 sales!
Ashley’s website currently has 87 pieces listed, and her Etsy shop has 86 — so I am guessing that accurately reflects her current inventory. The prices on the website range from $750 for a diamond and pearl composite wedding pendant to $30,000 for a diamond and sapphire Tiffany bracelet.
Ashley’s jewelry prices are dramatically lower in her Etsy shop. The same Tiffany bracelet is under $20,000, and the pendant is just $450.
Out of curiosity, I added up the prices of all of Ashley’s Etsy shop listing and the total was a little over $385,000! Of course, it’s unclear if any of her inventory includes items being sold on consignment.
It will certainly be interesting to see how Travis and Ashley’s story plays out given that they are both essentially unemployed. To find out what happens, be sure to keep tuning in for new episodes of Love After Lockup airing Friday nights at 9/8c on WE tv!
Asa Hawks is a writer and editor for Starcasm. You can contact Asa via Twitter, Facebook, or email at starcasmtips(at)yahoo.com