High Rent Prices Leading to Eviction Increase 10/16/12
CBS 7 News
October 16, 2012
It’s an issue putting many West Texans out on the street.
Rent prices continue to go up across the Permian Basin.
So much so, that Court Judges are seeing an increase in eviction cases.
Lindsey Bassham calls it the roman noodle diet: food she chooses to eat to save money for her new rent costs.
“It’s gone up quite a bit.”
“Close to $300 a month.”
Even with a steady job in the restaurant industry, she says she is barely getting by.
“I used to go have my nails done, I definitely can't go to movies, or go out to eat,” she said.
Just a couple of buildings down is the Villarreal family who traveled here from Las Vegas in hopes for better jobs, which they found, but were not ready for the cost of living.
“They (apartment company) are trying to squeeze every dime,” said mother of three Sara Villarreal.
They too are cutting back on expenses after their rent went up by $220 a month.
“The burden of being able to provide for the family is definitely there,” said husband Victor Villarreal.
They are not alone; Ector County Precinct Three Judge Woody Kupper says he is seeing more eviction cases this year after many landlords shortened the length of their contracts from one year to six months.
“They jack the prices up every six months now,” Kupper said, “The cases we are seeing is that the tenant is withholding the payment because they don't want to pay the increase.”
Kupper says these tenants do not work in the oilfield industry. From teachers and city workers, to retail and restaurant employees, he says he hears the hardest of stories.
“Demand increases with the number of workers coming in the area, the rates of the apartments are going to go up,” Kupper said, “And that’s not against the law.”
The tenant rarely wins. Kupper says his best advice is to keep documentation of the contract and every payment made to the landlord. Also, have legal proof
of why rent was not paid.
“If you don't work in the oilfield,” Bassham said, “You're out of luck.”
The Permian Basin Apartment Association says rates will keep going up as long as people are willing to pay for it, but many renters like the Villarreal family says they don’t know how long they can hold out.
“I understand the whole supply and demand, but its ridiculous for apartments to be in the condition it's in for that price,” Sara Villarreal said.
Along with the need comes help. Although Limited, several non-profit groups are offering their financial support:
Jubilee Center of Midland: 432-520-0671
Odessa Links: 432-582-0099
Midland 2-1-1: Dial
Greater Works Center: 432-940-8868
Helping Hands: 432-520-8900