McKINNEY, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – At least one North Texas small business owner unable to pay her April rent said she is getting no mercy from a property owner who has locked her out.

It is one example of toll the COVID-19 crisis is having on small businesses.

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A photography studio owner in McKinney said not only can’t she operate right now, her landlord locked her out five days after her rent was due.

Laura Tye says she found herself unable to enter her studio on McKinney’s Historic Town Square which she’s had for more than a year.

Laura Tye (credit:

She posted a video about it on social media stirring up a lot of sympathy even from McKinney’s mayor.

The 38-year-old said she was just starting her dream of becoming a professional photographer and specializing in infant portraits.

Tye says she was doing well and never late with her rent.

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In March, she had to close down as a non-essential business.

She says she tried to get her landlord to work with her until she qualifies for a loan through the Relief Act.

But says he would only do so if she signed a new two-year lease which she says would be irresponsible considering the indefinite nature of the COVID-19 health crisis.

“I don’t know what I’m gonna do because it’s really hard to fulfill and pay the lease when I can’t work right now,” said Tye. “I don’t even know what am I to do to get my stuff out. None of us are trying to do anything illegal, but we’re all small businesses and we just been hurt by this.”

The property owner, S Five Partners said in a statement, “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.”

Tye not only can’t get into her studio, but she also can’t retrieve thousands of dollars worth of equipment still inside.

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