Tenants Face Eviction After Rent Money Stolen From Complex

Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Cristin Severance
CBS (Dallas-Fort Worth)

Several residents at a Fort Worth apartment complex say they are being evicted through no fault of their own.

According to tenants and a Fort Worth police report, someone broke into the overnight deposit box at Chisholm Trail Townhomes and stole the checks and money orders. Now, residents say even though the families have lost their rent money, the complex is asking them to pay again.

Sonja and Richard Baston pay their rent with a money order every month. Back in December, Sonja dropped it in the overnight deposit box. “I don’t think anyone with common sense would put their money in there if you felt there was a risk.” But later that night, someone smashed the box and stole all the payments inside. Many of the checks and money orders were altered and cashed.

Still, the Bastons thought they were covered. They say they gave the manager their money order receipt and thought that was the end of it. They paid rent in January, February, and March then received a letter from management stating they had to vacate do to non-payment of rent. “When I first saw it I was like, what do you mean, non-payment of rent?” said Sonja. They said the complex had applied March’s rent to December, which meant the management expected the Bastons to pay rent twice for the month.

Tonya Hill said the same thing happened to her. She found an employee posting an eviction notice on her door. Hill says she provided proof of payment and refused to cover the loss. “And the manager came out there saying ‘okay y’all are going to be homeless!'” Tkeyah Henry echoed her neighbor’s story. “I feel like they’re trying to bully people into making a payment that they’re responsible for.” LaTonya Crockett agrees. “It’s not like we didn’t pay it. We paid it and it was stolen.”

When CBS 11 News called the complex for a comment on Hill’s claim, the manager would not come to the phone and the receptionist referred us to the Huhem Law Firm, who have not responded.

All the residents who spoke CBS 11 News wondered if the complex’s insurance would have covered the stolen rent. But it wasn’t easy getting answers.

Chisolm Trail Townhomes’ corporate office, National Property Management Associates, referred CBS 11 News to the Huhem Law Firm. Attorneys at Huhem never responded to our multiple requests. When Consumer Justice investigator Cristin Severance returned to the manager’s office, Kirsten Johnson again refused to answer any questions and kicked Severance off the property.

Fort Worth police are investigating the burglary, as residents now take their fight to court to avoid eviction. “It was their negligence, their responsibility,” said Richard Baston. “And they’re putting it on the backs of the tenants.”

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