Tenant says request for repairs led to threat of eviction from Chevelle Apartments in Oak Lawn

REPAIRS IN THE WORKS? | Jack Gian, owner of the Chevelle Apartments in Oak Lawn, said this week that repairs on the complex’s roof should begin Friday, Feb. 11. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

Owner of Chevelle Apartments says repairs have been delayed by winter weather, should begin on Friday

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Michael Howard claims that he has been threatened with eviction by managers at the Chevelle Apartments on Throckmorton because he asked management to repair a leaky roof in his apartment.

Jack Gian owns the property.

Howard said this week that he first let the management office know that the roof was leaking into his apartment on Nov. 3. On Feb. 6, he left a message on the 24-hour maintenance line.

Howard said he had not been in touch with the management about the problem since Thanksgiving, and he said he believes that removing some of the melting snow from the roof could have prevented at least part of the current problem.

Howard filed a complaint about the problem with the Fair Housing Office in December, and on Dec. 17, city code compliance officer Nilandra Roy put in place an order preventing Chevelle management from evicting Howard, refusing to renew his lease or terminating his lease.

Howard said that he would like to move but cannot do that by the time his current lease ends on March 1. Because he is currently battling lymphoma and complications from AIDS, he said he isn’t physically able of looking for an apartment or packing and loading a truck to move.

This week he sent his landlord a certified letter “requesting reasonable accommodations under the Disability Act of the Fair Housing Code.”

“I have been on disability since 2005 for AIDS/HIV and Lymphoma Cancer, for which documentation can be provided at a later date, if needed,” Howard wrote. “I do not have the necessary resources at this time to find a new place of residence. I am expecting to have the means to move at the end of my next renewed lease. But until that time, I am once again requesting reasonable accommodations under the Disability Act of the Fair Housing Code.” But he acknowledged that the comment he left on the 24-hour maintenance line — “I would then once again be contacting the Dallas City Code Officer OR take legal action if necessary in order for me to get my roof/ceiling repaired” — might have been taken as a threat.

He said it was after that message that the management threatened to evict him.

“Someone from G&G Properties called me at 10:01 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 7, and left a very rude, mean voicemail message,” Howard said. The message warned him to “stop calling and harassing the management here at Chevelle about my repairs, and that if it did not cease then they were warning me that they would proceed with issuing me an eviction notice.”

He said he felt as if he was the one being threatened and harassed.

Howard is not the only one who has complained about the roof leaks. At least two others have requested repairs.

Nor is this the first complaint against the property owner. In June 2010, tenants complained about the air conditioning being out for several days. That service was restored after WFAA Channel 8 television station ran a story.

Gian said repairs will begin Friday, Feb. 11.

“The roofing was ordered a week ago Friday,” Gian said, adding that weather had delayed repairs. He said has to get as much ice off the roof as possible before the crew can begin.

Repairs should continue through Tuesday, Gian said, if they are able to begin work this week. He said about 5,000 square feet of roofing will be replaced.

Chalisa Warren at the Dallas Fair Housing Office said that complaints based on any of the protected categories in the city ordinance go through their office. Those categories include disability and sexual orientation.

She said information is available on Fair Housing Office website. Complaints can be filed online or by phone, or a complaint form can be mailed or delivered in person to the office in City Hall.

The website is DallasFairHousing.com.

Complaints about repairs to multi-tenant properties go through the city Code Compliance office. To file a complaint, call 311. A service number will be issued and an inspector will be sent to the property.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Feb. 11, 2011.

—  John Wright