Humble woman claims landlord cut off utilities to harass her after she fell behind on rent

HUMBLE, Texas – An Humble woman says she has been without water for more than two weeks and claims her landlord is the one responsible for cutting it after she fell behind on three to four months of rent.

The woman, who didn’t want to be identified, said she began falling behind on rent because her worker’s comp ran out and she’s waiting on disability payments.

“When I said I didn’t have (money for rent), he come back out and he took the pipe for the water,” she said.

She also claims someone tampered with the circuit breakers in her home so she was without electricity as well. This too, she blames on her landlord.

“I woke up one day and I had no air,” she said.

“Just a couple of days ago, we had soaring temperatures. I can’t imagine living in a house with no air-conditioning and no running water,” said Dana Karni, an attorney with Lonestar Legal Aid.

The firm is now working with the tenant to help get her utilities back on.

Karni says tenants have protections under the Texas property code that prevent a landlord from cutting utilities.

“Unless there’s an emergency or unless there’s construction, this sort of utilities shut off is absolutely illegal,” Karni said.

Landlord Peter Hwang said as far as the water was concerned, there was a leak in the line and he had workers out to fix it.

However, Hwang denies pulling any breakers to cut the electricity and says his workers didn’t do that either.

Hwang also says he tried working with the tenant several times, but she stopped making any payments months ago.

On Thursday, a Justice of the Peace signed off on a court order requiring the utilities to be turned back on.

“Just have a little compassion you know. Be a little patient with some people sometimes, not just go drastic measures,” the tenant said.

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