HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on Thursday called on landlords to be sensitive and flexible with their tenants in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
Turner said he recognizes that a lease is a contract and that tenants are obligated to pay their bills, but he asked property owners to waive or delay late fees for at least one month in order to give tenants time to get back on their feet.
The mayor said that while most landlords are doing an excellent job, some are taking advantage of the situation and kicking tenants to the curb.
“If we determine that any terminations were done improperly or unnecessarily, we will take all necessary measures to protect the rights of those tenants,” Turner said.
Turner said that some landlords have accepted September rent payments and then evicted the residents.
“For me, that’s the equivalent of theft,” Turner said.
The mayor said the city will not tolerate victimization of immigrants or the poor.
Turner said his office is working to quickly activate the city’s relief fund. That money will be dispensed to the community via nonprofit groups in the region.
Housing options for the 1,500 evacuees remain at the George R. Brown Convention Center are still be evaluated, Turner said. He said he hopes to be able to close that shelter by Saturday.