A South Dallas Apartment Owner Evicted All His Tenants, Leaving Many With Nowhere to Go

Categories: Crime

Deltaplaza.jpg
Amy Silverstein
The Delta Plaza apartment complex in South Dallas recently gave its tenants a little midweek surprise: On Thursday, they found out that they all had to move. Tenants say they got the news via a note on the door, apparently taped there by the property manager.

"You have violated your lease contract as stated below," says the typed form, dated October 3. In a blank space, "prohibited conduct" is written in cursive as the reason for why each tenant is being evicted.

The property manager "didn't even knock on the door," Wanda Feagins, a tenant, tells Unfair Park. She says that she's on fixed income and has nowhere else to go.

Delta Plaza was recently the subject of a pair of stories in The Dallas Morning News. The first, published on September 30, detailed a police raid on the complex two weeks before during which cops found lots of drugs, guns and cash. Two people were arrested.

The second, published less than a week later, reported that Anwar Sajan, the complex's owner, had shut down the complex after giving residents 24 hours' notice.

"I don't want any kind of charges against me because this thing is happening on my property," he explained to the paper.

The irony is that, in shutting down the complex so hastily, he may have violated state law. Under Texas Property Code, tenants who receive a "Notice to Vacate" are normally entitled to stay there for three days before the landlord gets to sue them in eviction court. And that's assuming that everyone in the building was actually guilty of "prohibited conduct," which doesn't appear to be the case.

One resident, who asked not to be identified, tells Unfair Park she's lived at Delta Plaza for years and signed a renewal lease only three months ago. She doesn't know where she can stay with all of her stuff on such short notice. "I've just been overwhelmed," she says.

Another tenant, Barbara Watkins, has been staying at the complex with her boyfriend to make sure their stuff doesn't get stolen. Since the eviction notice, "we haven't seen no one" other than a couple of maintenance men bringing the units up to code and the eight or so residents who have stayed behind. None have received their security deposits back.

Maureen Milligan, the Dallas Assistant City Attorney, says that city officials are working closely with the landlord to make sure that the building is getting up to code.

"We're out on the property very frequently," Milligan tells Unfair Park, "and if any tenants approach us and want to reach out to me, to see if any city resources" are available, she's happy to help.

But Milligan maintains that it's not the city's responsibility to look into whether Sajan's mass kick-out was legal, because it wasn't the city's decision to close the building down. She says that was all Sajan's idea, and that he could have fixed the code violations with people still living there. "The owners can abate the code violations whether the apartment is occupied or unoccupied," she says.

She adds that she doesn't want people to feel abandoned. She says that she left her card in the manager's office. "If there are folks looking to see if there are city resources out there, they can contact me," Milligan says.

Sajan could not be reached for comment.

My Voice Nation Help
25 comments
dougsterfresh
dougsterfresh

 Based on my history dealing with problem and deadbeat tenants, I don't doubt there's issues on both sides with this one, but at the end of the day, the landlord gets to post the notices and has the law on thier side.....but it should take time, to give time. That's what these tenants need to hear. If you need time, stay until an officer removes you, but pack up so you're ready and kiss your deposit goodbye (it was probably gone anyway I would assume).

dougsterfresh
dougsterfresh

@Lorlee @dougsterfresh The idea of "not having other options" is a self fulfilling pattern and a choice over time. Change isn't easy, but saving up the amount of a security deposit can be done. I've worked with tenents at every income level, and change can occur at every income levelif the tenant is sufficiently motivated. I would point to hispanics (and yes, illegals) in the burbs who sublet and pack in as an example. Not good, but better than the streets. Kduble is right that if the owner had maintained tenants, there would be continued revenue. This speaks volumes........don't think that a landlord kicks out their entire revenue source at once without real and serious reasons for doing so.

kduble
kduble

This action seems rash. By evicting all tenants without sorting through them, the owner has cut off the revenue stream he could be using to make the repairs. And, there's no guarantee his new crop of tenants will be any better than the last.

lcrlewis
lcrlewis

Place must not be that bad or the owner would be dead.. 

dougsterfresh
dougsterfresh

Code violations is missing the point. In some property situations, ferreting out the bad actors takes more work and skill than an owner or property manager can muster, and "innocents" wind up contributing to the problem because of a complicit culture or lack of desire to disrupt the status quo. I've owned property in Pleasant Grove and Oak cliff, and can tell you that I've wished for a clean slate on many occasions. A notice to vacate is different from an eviction notice, and the three day requirement starts from the date the notice is given. This provides the tenant sufficient time to move, but if they want to fight it, an eviction notice must be served by an officer through legal proceedings. Any affected person who doesn't have skeletons in the closet should be able to contest the eviction while staying in place. I don't think we have a full reporting of the facts, just a emotional appeal.....which I hear from all my tenants.

Lorlee
Lorlee

Come on people -- Not everyone who lived there is a drug lord, pimp, user --  Sometimes people don't have a lot of options about where they live -- certainly none of you are welcoming them in your neighborhood.   I just ran into one of those evictees -- sitting in the CVS parking lot with her kids and stuff in the car.  They have a list and called every shelter and resource.  She has been there for more than 4 hours -- with no place to go.  My $20 won't help her much, but at least she can buy food to feed the kids.  I sometimes wonder who you people are -- in whom the milk of human kindness has totally dried up if it was ever there.

mikeallen1965
mikeallen1965

Nice censorship Voice! I said bulldoze the shit.hole!

dallasoriginal
dallasoriginal

sounds like something the owner of rawlins chateau would do in Oaklawn.

He's always throwing tenants out on the street without going through the courts ! 

dallasoriginal
dallasoriginal

Sounds like something the owner of rawlins chateau on Oaklawn would do ! He never does anything legal ! 

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

I like the round-a-bout statement from the city attorney.  "We'll see if there are any City resources available."  Translated: "You're on your own kid."  But as she said, the City is not responsible for the evictions.


I was once in a situation where a landlord received a similar demand from a local city to bring his property up to code.  He made all sorts of demands on me before he would even consider bringing the building up to code and the local city was nice, but basically said "We don't have to talk to you."

veirshunter
veirshunter

Why do I hear "fixed income" so many times? I understand that it is supposed to bring out empathy, whenever used. I don't understand what it's trying to say. By its definition, I'm on a fixed income. I.e. I know how much money I'm making and I know how much roughly my expenses will be. 

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

Worried about eviction but not worried about the crime n violence.

killwhiteprivilege
killwhiteprivilege

You should move in there with your wife and kids, Eric. Why not? What could possibly go wrong? Move there with your family and show everyone how "progressive" and totally non-hypocritical you are.

Lorlee
Lorlee

@dougsterfresh If the status quo is that you don't have other options -- would you be raring to disrupt it.  

killwhiteprivilege
killwhiteprivilege

Why don't you let them move on with you? Or is your moral superiority only worth $20. Congrats. You are $20 more moral and kind than me.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@veirshunter 

AP Stylebook acceptable replacement verbiage (code words) for public assistance.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@killwhiteprivilege 

oh, you are way, way short on how "more moral and kind" Lorlee is than you. in fact it is too large a gulf to even estimate...

Bobtex
Bobtex

@holmantx @veirshunter "The term fixed income is also applied to a person's income that does not vary materially over time. This can include income derived from fixed-income investments such as bonds and preferred stocks or pensions that guarantee a fixed income. When pensioners or retirees are dependent on their pension as their dominant source of income, the term "fixed income" can also carry the implication that they have relatively limited discretionary income or have little financial freedom to make large or discretionary expenditures."  Wikipedia rules.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@Dallasite1991 

its mantra: never let the facts get in the way of their hate.

killwhiteprivilege
killwhiteprivilege

Same difference, even better. Move there Amy Silverstein, why not? You could help "uplift" the locals and voluntarily dismantle your white privilege at the same time.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@holmantx

hmm, let's see...

Pensioners don't live in drug houses

don't you think it matters if the "pensioner" uses the aforementioned drugs or not? shoud they be a pensioner who is an addict it would make sense they lived there, or if they themselves were drug dealers. long and short, you and I have no base of knowledge if they are "pensioners" or welfare recipients.

The above is but a limp wristed attempt to rebrand the facts to attack the city and a property owner,

don't see the article attacking the City of Dallas in any way. as for the property owner, the article merely reported the facts: how notice was given, the possibility he violated TX Code, and the staff's opinion he did not need to vacate the property to complete the repairs to conform to the building code. not attacking, just the facts.

"people who own this class of property don't even fit your definition of "fixed income"

what??? that does not make any sense whatsoever.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@Bobtex 

Pensioners don't live in drug houses written up by the City and repeatedly busted by the cops.

You are being obtuse.

Consider the homeless so named in the press until they murder, rape or rip off a kid, then they are drifters.

The above is but a limp wristed attempt to rebrand the facts to attack the city and a property owner, who is himself a slum lord.  People who own this class of property don't even fit your definition of 'fixed income'.

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...