HOUSTON LANDLORD MISERS LOOK TO SQUEEZE MONEY FROM TENANTS WHO LOST EVERYTHING
Disaster doesn’t seem to mitigate greed, especially when it’s satisfied by contract. While landlords should have a good expectation to receive whatever was laid out in the respective leases they hold, there is a threshold that most reasonable people would recognize trumps their expectation for contractual payment. Admittedly, this is a threshold that would have to involve an extreme scenario, perhaps even a catastrophic one.
ONLY 20% OF HOUSTON RENTERS HAVE FLOOD INSURANCE, BUT PAYMENTS MONTHS AWAY
Many tenants choose to take the precaution of getting renters insurance, though not all. I certainly do. Far fewer choose to also include flood insurance. In the case of Houston renters, the vast majority of people brutally affected by Hurricane Harvey did not have flood insurance, with reports showing those without around 80%. But even for the 20% who did have the flood insurance precaution, their submissions for any type of payments can take up to months to receive from insurance companies.
HOMELESS TENANTS LIVING IN SHELTERS THREATENED WITH EVICTION, LEGAL FEES FOR SEPTEMBER RENT
Well, it is now September 4th and landlords are coming for their money. The Guardian and the Blot are reporting that some greedy landlords in the Houston area are demanding that their tenants pay September rent, even as most of them are homeless, living at shelters or with friends/family and after they have lost literally everything except what they could throw in a bag as they fled their homes.
One renter, Rocio Fuentes, and her family, rented an apartment in Pasadena, Texas just a month ago. Then came Harvey and they lost everything. Their newly purchased furniture, clothing, personal items, food. Sadly, they have no insurance at all and her husband is unable to work because his profession is construction and those jobs are on hold due to flooding.
But guess what? Their landlord wants to get paid. Fuentes says: “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.”
TEXAS LAW REQUIRES TENANTS TO PAY RENT FOR “DAMAGED” ABODES, LEAVING JUDGES TO DECIDE WHAT DAMAGED/UNINHABITABLE MEANS
Sadly, under Texas law, rent must be paid on dwellings that are only deemed “damaged” and not completely uninhabitable. And you better believe landlords are going to fight tooth and nail to get a judge to agree that their units are just damaged, thereby ensuring that they can collect that rent. In that case, the landlord could be forced to provide merely a deduction.
So where does FEMA and charity help come in? Well, over half a million people have applied for help, but it takes a while to get processed and receive vouchers for hotels and belongings.
So in addition to losing their homes, cars, jobs, possessions and stability, many of these people are now facing eviction, which will make securing new housing virtually impossible in the future.