Landlords In Houston Demand Rent From Homeless Hurricane Victims
Some landlords in Houston are demanding rent from their homeless renters and evicting them.
Rocio Fuentes, who is homeless with her husband Jaime and their five children, told The Guardian:
Our landlords say we have to pay rent and late fees and every day it is going up. We are paying rent for somewhere we can’t live in. They said “you aren’t the only ones in this situation,” but what are we supposed to do? We don’t have any money. We don’t have anything.
Isela Bezada, an unemployed woman who lived with 10 family members in a house until they were evicted, added:
There are a lot of property owners who aren’t conscious of what has gone on; they are being rude and kicking people out.
A spokeswoman for the city of Houston’s housing department said city officials “are aware these problems exist,” but added that state law deals with that problem.
Under state law, what the landlords are doing is legal.
Texas law says that if a rental premises is “totally unusable” due to an external disaster then either the landlord or tenant can end the lease with a written notice.
If the property is “partially unusable,” a tenant can get a reduction in rent per a county or court ruling.