KILLEEN — On Friday, July 13, Getaren Green notified Channel 6 about an issue at the El Dorado Apartments.
"I wake up Sunday morning and the parking lot is half empty," Green said. "I get ready to go to church, I look out the window, my car is gone."
Green found out her car had been towed by Leon's Wrecker Services. She had to pay $243 to get it out. Green said her apartment complex told her she did not have a current parking pass, but the need to get new passes was never communicated. Another resident told Channel 6 the same thing happened to her.
Only a few hours after speaking on camera, management gave the women eviction notices.
"I got it off the door and opened it up and this is what it was," Green told Channel 6 as she showed our reporter the notice.
The notice claimed Green had left a profane voicemail with the management office and that the voicemail was "threatening the rights and comfort... of employees." The phone number linked to the voicemail had a 518 area code however.
"This is definitely not my phone number and this is definitely not the language that I would leave anyone," Green said.
The notice required Green leave her apartment on the 16th but wasn't given until late Friday, so Green had to wait until Monday to call local agencies for help. Channel 6 also looked to see what resources were available and found Lone Star Legal Aid in Belton.
Managing Attorney Rachel Kunath told Channel 6 Green did not, in fact, have to leave her apartment on Monday as long as she was willing to defend herself in court.
"Only a judge can tell a tenant to physically leave a home. What the landlord is doing is putting you on notice that they don't want to rent to you anyone," Kunath said. "To actually force you out of the home they have to file a case in court."
Kunath said that the timing on an eviction notice is governed by the lease and that having three days to vacate is fairly common. Kunath said, once in court, the burden of proof is on the landlord. That means the landlord must provide convincing evidence that the tenant has breached their contract. A tenant can represent themselves in court and do not have to have an attorney.
Kunath also said there are penalties for loosing a court case against a landlord, including the requirement for paying the court costs of the landlord if such penalties are written into the contract. It could also be difficult for a tenant to find another apartment later on.
Lone Star Legal Aid is currently reviewing Greens case. Green said she will not be leaving her apartment at this time.