Tenants Face Early Removal From Dallas Boarding Homes

As rent rises, more DFW residents are facing housing inequality

As rent in DFW continues to rise, there is more pressure on tenants to be able to afford their current home, and for those on a fixed income, to try and find a place at all.

In the parking lot of an East Dallas hotel, Elaine Shockley checks in for the night but is uncertain where she will stay tomorrow.

Shockley said she and other tenants, many of who are elderly or have physical or mental limitations, were given one week's notice by their landlord to leave a boarding house in the Buckner Terrace neighborhood by the end of the month.

The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment has gone up 37% in Dallas over the past year, according to rent.com

“I’m very upset, I’m scared,” Shockley said. “I feel horrible having to spend the night in a hotel but my alternative is to spend the night on the floor in an empty house and that scares me.”

On Sunday morning she said the property manager, MKB Community Living LLC, showed up with a truck and loaded up all the furniture and bedding and removed it from the home.

Dallas attorney Mark Melton captured some of that process during a live video posted on his Facebook page.

Melton operates the Dallas Eviction Advocacy Center, which offers pro bono legal advice for North Texas tenants facing eviction lawsuits. It is an effort the trained tax attorney started at the outset of the pandemic before eviction moratoriums took hold in 2020.

“You can’t just kick someone out, you have to give proper notices and you have to file an eviction suit before you can remove anyone from the home,” Melton said.

Melton said inflation combined with a shortage of affordable housing in DFW equates to more instances of people facing housing insecurity.

The president and CEO of Family Gateway said the Dallas-based nonprofit has seen twice as many calls for help from families over the first six months of this year compared to 2021 and five times as many families having eviction proceedings initiated against them over the same time period.

“We don’t have very many apartments that are affordable for people that don’t make much money,” Melton added.

No one from the property management company was on site when NBC 5 went to the home on Sunday. Calls and texts to a listed number went unreturned.

A woman answered a second phone number and hung up when after being informed the call was from the media.

Shockley said the home now is empty.

“I was left to just sleep on the floor,” she said.

At 76 and needing the aid of a walker to get around, she said that wasn’t a risk she was willing to take.

“This is not the way to treat an old person, just abandon them, like this,” Shockley said.

Melton added his work is likely not done either.

“We most certainly will be filing a lawsuit for unlawful eviction because this kind of thing just can’t stand,” Melton said.

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