La Joya Tenant Upset Eviction Notice was Delivered Late

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LA JOYA – A Rio Grande Valley woman said her rights as a tenant were violated.

On April 18, the La Joya Housing Authority drafted and filed a 30-day eviction notice for Ashley Perez.

Perez said she didn’t find out she was being evicted until May 15. By that time, she said she had 13 days to figure out her next move.

“I’ve packed up and I’ve been ready. I’ll probably live in my car but at least I have my belongings,” she said.

The housing authority hand delivers notices of service and maintenance directly to tenants’ doors. But Perez said she never got the eviction notice until it came by mail.

She said she doesn’t have a mailbox at her physical address. The notices of lease violation and lease termination arrived in her P.O. Box on May 9.

“So, there was no such number to the sender and it was mailed back twice,” she said.

The notice of lease violation said she could be evicted if it happened again. In addition, a notice of lease termination said her time in the unit was running out.

The La Joya Housing Authority issued the following statement, which reads in part:

“The La Joya Housing Authority has re-issued the lease violation and lease termination for tenant, Ashley Perez, May 26. The violation and termination were re-issued to alleviate any confusion in the wording of the initial lease violation. This was the resident’s final notice that threatening and abusive conduct will not be tolerated towards staff or other residents on the property. It is the intent of the housing authority to pursue eviction as set forth in the Notice of Lease Termination. The housing authority procedures and Texas state law governing the process are being adhered to.”

CHANNEL 5 NEWS reached out to the Texas RioGrande Legal Aid.

TRLA attorney Fred Fuchs said it’s not illegal to send a warning and an eviction notice together, although it can be confusing for tenants.

“So, there’s inconsistency on one hand saying, ‘We intend to evict you in the future if you engage in the conduct,’ and on the other hand actually saying, ‘Well, we’re going to evict you now for the past conduct,’” he said.

The notice of lease violation included a scheduled date for an informal review hearing on May 4. The date came and went before Perez ever knew she was being evicted.

“The date it has, that it was returned back, was May 9. So, I had missed the informal hearing,” she said.

Fuchs said she might have other options.

“The housing authority then saying, ‘You’re not going to get an information hearing,’ when it had scheduled the informal hearing for May 4 – and through no fault of her own, through no fault of the tenant’s, that letter actually wasn’t accessible to her until May 9. And so in that particular case she is deprived of her right to timely request a grievance hearing. There’s no question about that,” he said.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS went to the La Joya Housing Authority for comment. Their office was closed during normal business hours of 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Perez said she is on the process of opening a case with TRLA.

We later received confirmation from the housing authority the eviction deadline for Perez is set for July 1.

The informal review hearing has also been rescheduled for June 6.

Fuchs added the housing authority is in compliance with federal law. Federal regulations allow the housing authority to send the notice through the mail in lieu of hand delivering the notice to the door.

He said they do not have to do both unless mandated by the leasing contract. 

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