Hurricane Harvey didn’t spare most families the comfort they desired when it hit, leaving thousands to flee their residence. These people have lost everything and have to start building their lives afresh.
To compound their woes, they are asked to pay rents; “Our landlords say we have to pay rent and late fees and every day it is going up,” Rocio Fuentes, of Pasadena, Texas, told the Guardian. “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.”
Under Texas law, a tenant or landlord can terminate a lease if the residence is considered “totally unusable.” If it is partly usable, the court would have to determine the rental costs.
“Right now there are going to be many landlord-tenant issues: people who don’t think they should give back the security deposit for flooded properties,” lawyer Susan Brown said. “There will be people who will try to kick out their tenants because their brother-in-law needs some place to stay. There’s going to be a severe shortage of rental space in the community.”
While Hurricane Harvey may have passed, the victim’s troubles are only just beginning.