SOUTH HOUSTON, Texas- Hurricane Harvey victims in apartments torn apart by repair crews claim their landlord is threatening eviction over late fees.
At Arlington Place Apartments, people are living with holes in ceilings, bare walls, exposed pipes, wires, even brick-and-mortar in children’s bedrooms. It has been that way for five months in nearly 50 apartments damaged by the hurricane.
“It’s unhealthy,” Telina Cooks, a renter said. “(It is) uncomfortable and unhealthy. I just went through the holidays like this.”
Cooks showed KHOU 11 News eviction notices given to her because she did not pay late fees. Cooks claims property managers promised to waive all late fees while repairs continued.
Eva Ochoa watched water drip into 12 buckets in her living room. She is waiting for promised repairs on her leaking roof to begin.
“Tomorrow they’re going to start on the roof,” she said. “(They said) that I shouldn’t be having no more leaks. But I don’t know when are they going to do that.”
One the phone, a spokesperson for the complex owners told KHOU 11 News that contractors removed wet drywall and ceiling to prevent mold growth after the storm. They planned to fix the hurricane damaged roof first. However, owners struggled to find contractors. They eventually hired a group from Atlanta. Then, last week’s ice storm delayed work, the spokesperson said. It will be mid-March until repairs are finished, the spokesperson added.
Still, management initially offered tenants hardest hit with damage rent concessions and transfers to vacant units.
None we met said they got the offer.
“I’m still here,” Cooks said pointing at her bare wall. “This is my apartment.”
On her part-time salary as a University of Houston food service worker, Cooks feels moving is not an options. So, she is fighting eviction while trying to hold on to what she has left in her apartment.