Landlords have a realistic expectation of getting paid whatever rent was agreed to do by renters in their lease, be it weekly, monthly or in the signed arrangement entered into by both parties. While many tenants opt to secure renters insurance, some do not. And even less secure flood insurance. Sadly, many of the people most affected by Hurricane Harvey did not have flood insurance, with reports that as little as 20% had them. And even those that did have it, filings and payments can take weeks, or even months, to receive.
Well, it is now September 4th and landlords are coming for their money. The Guardian is 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.”
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.