VICTORIA, Texas – Texas RioGrande Legal Aid filed suit on behalf of four Hurricane Harvey survivors whose Victoria landlord took their personal belongings and rented out their homes after they had been evacuated to an Austin shelter. The plaintiffs are seeking damages from the owners and operators of their apartment complex for wrongful eviction, breach of contract, and unlawfully taking their personal property.
“This adds insult to injury,” said Hank Bostwick, the TRLA attorney filing suit on behalf of the plaintiffs. “These actions were directed at people who were already suffering from the most disastrous hurricane in decades. When these families took refuge from a terrifying storm, the landlord used the situation to its advantage.”
The plaintiffs – Tyclynn Brazil, Yvonne Prime Brazil, Cristie Hardeway, and Kristi Perez and their families – left their homes in Crossroads Apartments, located at 1610 North Laurent in Victoria, in accordance with a mandatory evacuation order issued by the city of Victoria in the days before Harvey made landfall. While they were gone, Linda’s Rentals, LLC, which owns and operates Crossroads Apartments, removed the plaintiffs’ possessions and rented their apartments to new tenants.
The plaintiffs and TRLA made repeated attempts to contact the company, including hand-delivering a letter to the defendant’s rental office in Victoria and sending certified letters. Despite multiple efforts, neither Linda’s Rentals nor its agents returned the property or responded to their former tenants.
“In Kristi Perez’ case, she lost irreplaceable items, like photos of her deceased son, and important documents, like her children’s birth records and even her car title, yet the rental company has just ignored her,” Bostwick said. “The company has left these folks with no options. They’ve lost everything, and the company refuses to even communicate with them. They had no choice but to file suit.”
The complaint filed Oct. 16 in Victoria County District Court asks that the court order Linda’s Rentals to return the tenants’ property and award them actual and punitive damages.
Harvey survivors who need help with disaster-related legal issues should call our disaster hotline (866) 757 1570.