Rent increased by hundreds of dollars for Tom Bean tenants - - No One Gets You Closer

Rent increased by hundreds of dollars for Tom Bean tenants


TOM BEAN -- Tenants at an apartment complex in Tom Bean say they've been given an ultimatum: Find a way to pay hundreds of dollars more for rent or find a new place to live.

Residents say they learned last week their rent was increasing by hundreds of dollars and that the new amount was due March 1.

But they say their landlord decided to postpone the increase until April 1, giving them a little more time to figure out whether they'll stay or go.

Shannon Sharpe has been living at the Landings Apartments for three years.

Rent for the two bedroom, one bath place is $385 per month, according to her lease.

But because the complex is a government subsidized community through the USDA Rural Development program, "My last rent check was $144," Sharpe said.

In February 2013, tenants received a letter from the USDA notifying them the owner wants to pay off the USDA loan used to develop the complex.

"I didn't understand it," Sharpe said.

In December 2013, another letter from the USDA told residents the request was accepted and that as a result, rent may increase.

This week, Landings residents received a letter from a Sherman business called Angel Ridge Properties notifying them it had purchased the property.

It states rent for an apartment like Sharpe's will increase to $400 April and $590 in May.

It also says the apartments will no longer be a government supplemented community.

Sharpe says she's now scrambling to find another place to live.

"It's hard to try to find a place to live to see if they'll take voucher and pack to get out in that short period of time when it's just me," she said.

Sandy Rollins is with the Texas Tenants' Union, a non-profit organization based in Dallas.

She was contacted by a resident at the Landings and went door-to-door this week answering questions tenants have about the transition.

"Most of the people who live in this place are actually very low income and they don't have money set aside to move on a moment's notice," Rollins said.

But residents do have some options.

The USDA says they can apply for a Rural Development Voucher which would help them pay the increased rent or help cover the cost to move. But Rollins says the application process could take up to two months.

"It's horrifying it's happening this way," Rollins said.

In a statement, Tonie Taylor, a manager for Angel Ridge Properties, LLC said, "The property known as The Landings was recently acquired by Angel Ridge Properties, LLC. The facility was formally a government supplemented apartment community under the USDA.  That designation was removed upon the closing of the purchase. Angel Ridge Properties, LLC as the current Landlord is working with the tenants to transition from a government supplemented community to a privately owned and operated apartment complex. No tenant has been evicted or received any notices of eviction. The tenants have been informed that the USDA will assist in this transition and have been given the appropriate information to assist them. The Landlord hopes to continue to have a relationship with all current tenants."

Sharpe says some tenants have already moved out and that her time at the complex is winding down too.

We also contacted the USDA which says it is looking into expediting the tenants vouchers.