Renters face uncertain future

March 9, 2009 4:53:08 PM PDT
Apartment renters are left with serious concerns after they say workers at their apartment complex closed up shop and left. And that was a week ago. It's a story we're hearing from desperate renters at several apartment complexes here in Houston. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

All of the complexes have one thing in common -- they're owned by the same group, which we've learned has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

There are eight Bethany apartment properties in and around Houston and late last week, tenants say they realized that it wasn't businesses as usual with notices taped to office doors.

"It doesn't make any sense at all for somebody to do someone like that," said tenant Tiffany Edward.

For those who live at one Bethany complex, life has changed.

"The office people, they haven't been here in three or four days," said tenant Joshua Salinas. "I'm sitting here taking a shower and it's cold, ice cold water. You've got fecal matter and urine running up to the street."

What the notices didn't tell tenants is that last week, California-based Bethany Lone Star properties filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and in so doing, employees, such as maintenance workers and property workers, went without paychecks.

At some complexes, landscaping is growing unkempt. At others, there are repair problems.

"Finally, something just broke and I just looked up and it was flooded," said tenant Shelby Brooks of her apartment.

Office workers at the Windham Oaks complex say their paychecks were running a week late for several months, but Friday was Shana Ross' last paid day.

"That's when the communication was, 'You need to do what's best for you and your family. We can't expect you to volunteer your services here at work'," she said. "We're all loyal and dedicated people."

We attempted several times to contact the Bethany company at its Irvine, California, offices. Our phone calls were met with a recording that said their voicemail is full.

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