Galveston tenant slammed with eviction notice after refusing to pay rent during weekslong blackout

Nick Natario Image
Thursday, February 8, 2024
Renter faces eviction after withholding rent due to weeks of no power
ABC13 Renters' Rights heads to Galveston, where a renter who went without power for two weeks withheld his rent payment to his landlord. He now faces eviction.

GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Tenants at an apartment complex in Galveston haven't had power for a couple of weeks, which is why some didn't pay rent, and now they may be forced to look for a new place.

Donnie Kennedy relies on extension cords in order to run a light and coffee pot.

"Eating out an awful lot," Kennedy explained. "Spending a lot of money (that) I don't have. Lost a lot of groceries from the refrigerator."

Kennedy lives at Antigua Apartments. The complex lost power two weeks ago during a thunderstorm.

Without power, Kennedy had a message for management.

"I didn't pay my rent," Kennedy said. "I explained to them I would pay my rent as soon as the electricity came back on, and on the 5th, they gave me an eviction notice."

Legal experts said eviction is something landlords can do. Even without power, you still have to pay rent.

However, attorney Richard Amagwula from Ernie Garcia Law explained to look at your lease because you may not have to pay all the rent.

"It should say specifically what each person should do in that scenario," Amagwula said.

If there's an issue, experts said don't just go to the office. Send an email as well.

"Make sure any communications you have are in writing," Amagwula explained. "That's an essential part of this situation is that you're documenting everything and everything is being sent in a proper form, and everything is done in an open line of communication."

At Antigua Apartments, crews are working to restore power, but when ABC13 asked management when that might happen, they said they're waiting on parts, and they couldn't say exactly when the lights would go back on.

Apartment managers declined to comment on camera to Eyewitness News.

They said tenants were offered units with power. However, Kennedy said he didn't get that option, and moving isn't easy.

"You have to find a place that will take your income and take your credentials, and a lot of us don't have those credentials or kind of income to get us where we need to go," Kennedy said.

It's a move Kennedy believes he shouldn't have to make because he's spent two weeks running a light and coffee pot off of extension cords.

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