By Jen Kastner
MIDLAND- The tenants of downtown Midland's Ocotillo Apartment complex are outraged with the landlord, after being notified on Tuesday, that they only have 30 days to vacate their apartments.
The complex is comprised of 38 apartments. On December 7th, everyone needs to get out. Tenants tell NewsWest 9 that with such short notice, they fear they'll soon be homeless.
"What are we supposed to do? There's no housing here and no apartments here," tenant, Louvina Duson, said. "There's no place for us to go. So, basically we're just being thrown out into the street like a dirty rag or something," tenant, Robert Garza, said.
With the housing crunch and holidays fast approaching, tenants are stressing out that they won't be able to find places to live once the December deadline rolls around.
"Most of the people here live on fixed-incomes and they don't have places to go," tenant, Timothy Stirle, said.
Yet, the landlord with Main Street Santa Anna, LLC. has a very different take on this situation. He preferred to not have us use his name but he said all tenants are renting on a month-to-month basis. None of them are on long-term leases. He says he hasn't rented a new apartment to anyone for the past 12 months because tenants have consistently been negligent with paying rent. In fact, he says more than 60% of them don't pony up the cash when they need to. Additionally, he noted that several of the tenants struggle with substance abuse issues.
For three years, he claims he hasn't raised rent, which reportedly averages at roughly $400.00 per month. He maintained rates because he says he didn't want to be an opportunist in this boomtown by taking advantage of low-income folks.
However, he says, it has gotten to the point where the business is no longer profitable. With the green light from his legal counsel, on November 6th, Main Street Santa Ana, LLC. entered into an agreement with a large corporation, which will now be taking over the complex.
Reportedly, that agreement took 45 days to reach. The corporation taking over will either tear down the complex or re-do the interior to fulfill the housing needs of its own employees.
The tenants NewsWest 9 spoke with say much of the landlord's issues with them just don't add up.
"Alcohol and drugs [are] not the problem...Not with kids in this community," Duson said.
"I pay my rent on time. These other guys pay their rents on time. So, I really don't see [any] problem here with that," Garza said.
Tenants tell NewsWest 9 that while this eviction may be legal, to them, it's simply immoral.
The landlord claims he'll look into the possibility of assisting some of the tenants with finding new housing.