Some Port Arthur residents scrambled Wednesday to gather enough money to pay September's rent on time.

12 News set out to learn if landlords have the authority to expect rent to be paid on time or in full after a natural disaster like Hurricane Harvey.

The Valley View Estates housing complex sent a letter expressing heartbreak over Harvey, while also reminding residents that rent would be due on the first of the month. The letter said management would wave late fees for September, but payment must be made by Sept. 15 in order to avoid eviction.

"How are you going to evict the people and there's no where to go," Valley View resident Tiffany Ducote said.

Ducote's home received several inches of water during the storm, which she said destroyed her car. She said several of her low income neighbors have not been able to get to work because streets are flooded.

Several social media posts in southeast Texas said their apartment complexes were giving them five days to move out. Our legal analyst said if the property is damaged so severely that it is catastrophic or dangerous to live there, then the owner of the lease has the right to terminate said lease -- even if the renter does not want to leave, as long as the owner gives the rent a written five day notice. Her advice was to contact FEMA for assistance in the meantime.

SOURCES: Legal Analyst Liz Mitchell and Valley View Resident Tiffany Ducote


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