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Killeen landlord fines woman $960 for having an unauthorized pet on her property, now she's getting evicted

Read your lease carefully. Johanna Rivera's fine for having a pet on the property is more than her listed rent.

KILLEEN, Texas — The sign outside Clear Creek Rentals in Killeen says "Homes for rent 3BR/2 BR starting at $800/month. Johanna Rivera's lease also lists rent as $800 a month, but that's not what she pays. 

Her experience is a reminder for any new renter to check their lease front to back and look for extra fines or fees. 

On Aug. 3, OW Clear Creek LLC gave Rivera a list of charges and fees currently due including a "Rubs Income (Water)" fee for $66.66, a trash fee for $35, a Rubs Income (SEWER)" fee for $57.02, an Indemnity Waiver charge of $15 and late fees totaling $60.

Rivera said the extra fees were common. 

"All the time they add more fees. All the time we end up paying eleven hundred dollars or a thousand and some change," Rivera said. 

But this month, those fees weren't the biggest issue. The notice also listed tenant violation fees for $960 and $300.

The $300 charge was due to OW Clear Creek LLC's claim that Rivera had an additional tenant staying at the residence. Rivera said she received the accusation after staff saw her babysitter at her home. She said the babysitter never lived in the home or even spent the night, and told this to the staff member. 

"They asked her if she lived there. She stated that she was just visiting, and a couple of hours after that they put a notice on my door," Rivera said. 

Rivera's babysitter also had a pet with her. Unfortunately, OW Clear Creek LLC's lease states "IF YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO HAVE PETS AND IF ONE IS FOUND ON THE PROPERTY YOU WILL BE FINED $1000.00."

Rivera's partner paid $1035 for the rent and fees on August 4. The landlord wanted the rest of the fees too, however, and later moved forward with an eviction citation issued Aug.16. 

The eviction notice states Rivera has $800 of delinquent rent. It states a second reason for eviction in an unauthorized tenant. 

Rivera said this makes no sense because they already paid money towards rent, and never had an unauthorized tenant, but will likely need to argue for their side in court. 

6 News helped Rivera contact Lone Star Legal Aid for additional support.

Rivera said she wishes she could just leave the property without breaking the lease and getting penalized. She told 6 News she should have done her research before moving in, and worries about others in the same situation. 

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