PORT ARTHUR - One Port Arthur resident was stressed when he got an eviction notice soon after Tropical Storm Harvey's floods hit Southeast Texas.
Many others sought legal help to prevent, or in the end, delay their own evictions.
Chris parsley lived at the Autumn Chase apartments in Port Arthur.
He lost everything in his apartment after Tropical Storm Harvey.
"The most stressful thing was the apartment only gave us only five days to move out, that was the stressful part, we thought we could stay because we only had six inches of water in our apartment,” Parsley said.
Parsley was able to find a room at the Motel 8 in Groves while he waits to return to Autumn Chase.
Tai Ho, managing attorney at Lone Star Legal Aid in Beaumont says his office has filed lawsuits to give evacuees more time on their eviction notices.
"They [the evacuees] were stuck in Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, wherever, and they could not get back to Southeast Texas in time to salvage what they can," Ho said.
“I think the majority of people were told, ‘hey get out,’ and they did, they didn't know they could say ‘no’. They didn't know they could force the landlord to file an eviction lawsuit and go through courts to legally force them to move,” Ho said.
Ho says that landlords can demand residents move out, but they cannot kick people out if tenants refuse to leave or want to stay longer.
"The first round of lawsuits we filed was to get them more time, to stop the landlord from throwing all their stuff out, while they got a chance to come back," Ho said.
Parlsey did not seek legal aid, but he is relieved that he'll return home as early as three weeks.
"It's definitely an upside knowing they are fixing it and are trying to get it fixed as soon as possible," Parsley said.
Ho recommends seeking a lawyer if someone believes they were wrongly evicted.
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