Apartment Tenants 'Fed Up'

By Camaron Abundes  
NewsWest 9

PERMIAN BASIN- Leaky roofs, busted air conditioning units, and clogged plumbing at the Southgate Apartment complex are the complaints behind a petition started by a couple living at the complex.

"My children deserve better and my family deserves better," Violet Sheehan said.  She also says water leaking through her ceiling fan units forced Sheehan and her husband Walter and two daughters to leave over the weekend.

Walter Sheehan says several months ago a storm blew off a large whole in the roof of their upper level apartment at Southgate. Mr. Sheehan says he complained to management, but didn't get a response.

"The rain was coming in through our light fixtures, and we put in brand new ceiling fans and it was filling up our ceiling fan bowls up with water," Mrs. Sheehan, said.

When the rain came this weekend, Mr. Sheehan says he called again and was told by management they would send a crew to place a tarp over the spot. Mr. Sheehan says when that didn't happen he got on the roof worried the ceiling fans might fall on his children.

"Low income, bad credit families, we really don't have a choice of where to go. We're kind of stuck with what we've got," Mr. Sheehan said and added that he was issued and eviction notice, that was later reversed, for trying to fix the roof on his own.

Mr. Sheehan says after months without a working air conditioner he purchased a window unit out of pocket to keep his family cool.

"We work so hard for our money," Violet said, "it's like we get nothing in return."

The Sheehan's took a petition calling attention to maintenance issues and living conditions at Southgate. More than fifty people signed the document. A neighbor showed our NewsWest 9 crew, a plugged toilet, and a broken shower allegedly left for weeks by management.

Southgate like 28 other properties in Midland and Odessa are managed by Sunridge Management Group based out of Dallas. Over at the 4400 in Midland, tenant Jon Langley says he too is tired of being ignored. He filed a complaint with the Texas Attorney Generals Office Friday. He cited "price gouging," and unhealthy living conditions at the complex.

Langley also started a website for tenants in Midland to vent their frustration.

"They know, if I leave tomorrow they can have this place, with a little paint and cleaning of the carpet they can have someone else in here by the end of the week," he said.

Langley says two years ago a storm blew off the spark arresters on his chimney, causing a fire hazard to the apartment. He says exposed electrical wires are also a problem.

Back in June the Coventry Pointe Apartments in Midland, also a Sunridge Management Group run property, caught fire. According to Midland Fire Marshal David Hickman, AC units either shorted out or overheated.

"In the last three years you've seen rents almost double but service, you can't get service," Langley said, "My hope is to find other people who are being abused by any Real Estate company and that we can all make complaints."

Calls over the last two weeks to Sunridge Management Group Assistant Vice President David Pope went unanswered. Southgate Apartments management declined to comment.

For a List of Properties in West Texas owned by Sunridge Management Group: http://sunridgemanagement.com/sites/180/index.cfm?page=1730

For a look at Langley's website:

For information from the Attornety General's Office: http://www.oag.state.tx.us/consumer/tenants.shtml

For information regarding tenants rights: http://www.oag.state.tx.us/AG_Publications/pdfs/tenant_rights.pdf