Midtown Properties Apartments: Nice Digs, But You Might Get Evicted if You Express an Opinion

Categories: Spaced City

When we asked if he had any questions we could answer for his article, he said, "I'll just make 'em up as I go," and he laughed, because what he said was really humorous. And then, before hanging up on us, he said, "I appreciate the phone call. Take care."

If things had ended there, we would have probably just thought, "Well, that's an odd way for someone who isn't 12 years old to behave," and then moved on.

But about five hours later, Croom told us that Gould gave her the boot. She says Gould told her he did not like the fact that she told a reporter about the parking situation.

When we called Gould the next morning to confirm, he hung up on us.

Since Midtown is a member of something called the Houston Apartment Association, we reached out to them to find out if they have an opinion about one of their members evicting a tenant because she exercised her freedom of speech. After all, the HAA has a "Code of Ethics." In the preamble (seriously, there's a preamble) it states that members should strive for the "highest standards of honesty and integrity" and "seek to provide better values, so that an even greater share of the public may enjoy the benefits of apartment living."

HAA spokeswoman Aimee Arrington told us in an email, "Our policy is to not comment on specific issues between residents and their property managers. We do have a resident relations department that does take complaints about issues ranging from repairs to security deposits." She said there's a "free hotline" and an "online complaint system."

Sure, but we're trying to let the public know which apartment complexes in Houston prohibit free speech here. Arrington -- throw us a bone!

Ultimately, we're not really sure what the HAA does. Like many other associations, its members hold conferences and "EXPOS." To prove it, the website shows smiling HAA members sporting cool lanyards. Members give each other awards, and they lobby for "fair treatment of multifamily properties in federal tax law" and for abhorrent legislation "requiring owners to rent to criminals."

Arrington told us that its code of ethics is "upheld by our ethics committee," which we guess is made up of important people with special lanyards. "If a complaint is made by a member of the association about another member, the committee reviews the matter and makes a determination. That has not taken place in this case."

Clearly, the HAA's hands are tied. Since no HAA member is complaining about Gould, their ethics committee can't investigate. Which is good for Gould, because the penalty for violating the code of ethics is positively Inquisition-esque. It's even worse than double-secret probation.

"The last time the ethics committee reprimanded (as approved and voted on by our Board) was in 2012, and the punishment was denial of membership renewal," Arrington told us.

Dang, that's steep.

Croom said she'd already planned to give notice August 1, but she has no intention of being unlawfully tossed out before then. We want to see how this pans out, just so we can keep the public informed about the risks of apartment living. And we'll also keep our eyes out for Gould's article.



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35 comments
kildare
kildare

I'd be mad, too, to pay that much, have a great rental history, have my car towed due to a misunderstanding, and then find a recalcitrant manager who won't budge an inch. Ungrateful ingrate is how I'd feel.

finneganwakeman
finneganwakeman

I would encourage suing Jeff Gould & Midtown. Do discovery on Gould's finances for kickbacks from the towing company. Just like club owners kick back to cabbies who bring them patrons, towing companies offer nice cash rewards to managers like Gould who encourage towing first, questions later. 


If this were a reasonably co-operative guy, that wouldn't be my strategy off the bat, but this guy sounds rather vile, cowardly and serpent-like. 


Meanwhile, post negative reviews on apartment rental sites; let others know how wankerish his behavior is!

Rudyard
Rudyard

Not sure how much of the story is or isn't true, but I'm wondering if the complex makes any kind of attempt to let people kinow about the missing stickers.

Complexes I've lived in would usually send someone from their office out every so often to check for parking stickers and currect registration and inspection. If you didn't have all three then they placed a sticker on your window giving you X number of days to correct it. If it wasn't fixed in the alloted time they would then have it towed.

Chris Johnson
Chris Johnson

After 6 years in a Midtown Property, I have been waiting to see an article like this. No surprise at all.

cjclassicdj
cjclassicdj

I had a similar experience with Midtown Properties and would never refer anyone to one of their places again. Stay away. They encourage tenants to not sign a lease after their first year which gives them the opportunity to easily get rid of an unwanted tenant. The owner is the rudest, crudest and meanest person I have ever had the displeasure of meeting. I watched at least two other tenants be forced out. One was someone who had lived in the property for almost 10 years. My father's car was towed from in front of mine when we were parked in tandem which is something that was allowed per the lease. Ultimately Jeff paid for the mistake, but it took an argument and time that we did not have as my father was returning home that morning after a two-week vacation in Houston. Stay away. 

Eric Bradley
Eric Bradley

I talked to the manager and a neighbor in the building. She's not being evicted or forced out. Karma can be quite an interesting thing. I'm sure it has its sights set on the writer and tenant for the deceit and lies being being thrown around in this post.

Tyler Ray Henderson Sr.
Tyler Ray Henderson Sr.

You gotta be the dumiest person in the world to pay that much for something you will never own

Matthew White
Matthew White

I lived at MidTown Properties for at their Bomar address. I interacted with Jeff on multiple occasions and was always impressed with his professionalism and efficiency. Whenever I had any issues or concerns Jeff and his staff we're immediately responsive and addressed my needs. I can't speak to this woman's experience but can definitely say it was completely different than mine. Maybe the Free Press should have checked with other residents before writing a hatchet piece.

David Alan Turchen
David Alan Turchen

It seems extremely suspect... Maybe the association won't act but there are housing laws..

Eric Bradley
Eric Bradley

That's a fabrication of the story. I don't know how this publication can get away with such statements.

Ada Perkins Wesley
Ada Perkins Wesley

When I first read this article...I thought this has got to be a joke.

Eric Bradley
Eric Bradley

And this is why The Houston Press is a "trash rag" in my opinion. I'm a Realtor/real estate agent in Montrose and have leased at least 100 people in this landlord's various buildings over the last decade. Funny how out of all of those people, my clients all rave about Midtown Properties and Jeff Gould, and I only see them again when they decide it's time to buy a home or need a completely different size of space. This tenant who was towed is mad at her landlord? She was clearly irresponsible and is throwing a tantrum because of her carelessness. Wow. I'm glad my clients actually pay attention to their leases, their conversations with their landlords and they read notices sent to them, unlike this person. The "customer" is not always right and it's sad the squeaky wheel gets the grease. If I were to ever sell my home and rent in Montrose, this company and landlord would be exactly who I would sign with, but then again, I am actually a responsible adult. I'm also pretty sure this tenant was not served an eviction. That claim made a complete liar out of the writer or tenant. An owner can't serve an eviction on the claims made here. It wouldn't be allowed by the courts. I also find it hilarious that somehow this tenant was there for five years. It must have been torture! Was she held against her will? Tied to the stove? It all sounds fishy to me. Again, someone didn't get her way, was surprised there were repercussions of her irresponsibility and wants to blame and point fingers at other people instead of accepting personal responsibility for her own actions.

Claudia Zepeda
Claudia Zepeda

I've been waiting for this for FIVE years!! I can't even begin to list the unethical and unfair events that occurred to me while being a Midtown resident for a couple of years, one of which being an issue with a sticker and towing. Jeff Gould is the most morally corrupt 'manager' I've ever encountered and that says a lot. I was more than happy to never live in one of their properties and have told my large network of friends and colleagues over the years to stay far far away from this poor excuse for a management company. Thank you, Houston Press, for shedding light on this.

chatrouge87
chatrouge87

I have lived in a Midtown Property apartment for a very long time.  I have always found them to be very responsive and respectful.  However, you give what you get.  It's unfortunate that the car got towed, but going to the media - especially a biased source, is not the way to resolve the situation.  

Jeff Goodyear
Jeff Goodyear

I lived in a Midtown property recently, and also had my car towed. We contacted the property manager, and had the car back within a few hours, no charge. My only complaint is that after notifying of our intent to move, they quickly found a new tenant who was ready to take the place asap, if we were willing to move out sooner than the mandatory 60 days notice period. We said sure and made all the arrangements with the new landlord, paid our deposit etc. after informing Midtown everything was in place, they told us the new guy backed out and consequently we were now obligated to stay until the end of the 60 days. Well fuck you very much guys.

leftbank
leftbank

I'm confused, starting with the title. You said she expressed an opinion and was getting evicted. Did she actually get an eviction letter? That's the only way someone can start the so called eviction process, so without that you might want to watch what you are accusing someone of.

While you are helping her find her sticker diary, tell her to find her big girl panties and realize she didn’t follow what was obviously stated in the lease she agreed to since she PAID for the permit sticker in the first place (of her own choosing apparently since anyone can park on the street with no sticker and no cost), and has been reminded in writing since then so you say, and so her car got towed and she had to pay the fee.Boo hoo. That fee was from the tow company, not the property. Right? They don’t get anything out of that other than securing space for the people who have permission to park there.Had a car that was not marked as a tenant been parked in the area she needed to park in, I bet she wouldn’t have minded them being towed so she could have the space.

Also, what was this “opinion” that she was supposedly expressing that you claim was denied in violation of her First Amendment rights? I’m assuming by your vague reference to her opinion that she contacted you saying she wanted the landlord to pay her towing fees and got told no, and the world needs to know how cruel they are. Seriously? Sure, she can request that, but they also have the right to say no if the lease clearly states the responsibility of a tenant.It’s a tenant’s responsibility to pay rent, but if they up and decide to skip a month, should the landlord split it with them because there isn’t a reminder sign posted outside their door saying, “Hey sweetie, don’t forget to pay your rent this month.”

While she may not have had a meth lab or other issue to give her a history of being a bad tenant, I don’t hear any other complaints in your article coming from her about the property either.You actually said some pretty nice things about them in the beginning. If this is the first real issue she’s had with them in 5 years, maybe going to a newspaper to rant was a little much. But that’s just me expressing my First Amendment rights to an opinion.

Along The Left Bank
Along The Left Bank

I'm confused, starting with the title. You said she expressed an opinion and was getting evicted. Did she actually get an eviction letter? That's the only way someone can start the so called eviction process, so without that you might want to watch what you are accusing someone of. While you are helping her find her sticker diary, tell her to find her big girl panties and realize she didn’t follow what was obviously stated in the lease she agreed to since she PAID for the permit sticker in the first place (of her own choosing apparently since anyone can park on the street with no sticker and no cost), and has been reminded in writing since then so you say, and so her car got towed and she had to pay the fee. Boo hoo. That fee was from the tow company, not the property. Right? They don’t get anything out of that other than securing space for the people who have permission to park there. Had a car that was not marked as a tenant been parked in the area she needed to park in, I bet she wouldn’t have minded them being towed so she could have the space. Also, what was this “opinion” that she was supposedly expressing that you claim was denied in violation of her First Amendment rights? I’m assuming by your vague reference to her opinion that she contacted you saying she wanted the landlord to pay her towing fees and got told no, and the world needs to know how cruel they are. Seriously? Sure, she can request that, but they also have the right to say no if the lease clearly states the responsibility of a tenant. It’s a tenant’s responsibility to pay rent, but if they up and decide to skip a month, should the landlord split it with them because there isn’t a reminder sign posted outside their door saying, “Hey sweetie, don’t forget to pay your rent this month.” While she may not have had a meth lab or other issue to give her a history of being a bad tenant, I don’t hear any other complaints in your article coming from her about the property either. You actually said some pretty nice things about them in the beginning. If this is the first real issue she’s had with them in 5 years, maybe going to a newspaper to rant was a little much. But that’s just me expressing my First Amendment rights to an opinion.

Vanessa J Zuniga
Vanessa J Zuniga

Eduardo Powers, Midtown is multi-everything. That's what makes it such a great place to live.

Rachel Mann
Rachel Mann

That was totally worth the read hahah

Eduardo Powers
Eduardo Powers

MAANNN...I said once and i would continue to say it again..."I love living in Spring Branch" , a multicultural community where NOBODY is a SNOB, like the ones who live in Midtown...

Harrison Herfort
Harrison Herfort

It is very hard to take this comment seriously with your multiple misspelled words and EXCLAMATORY CAPITALIZATIONS.

John Gibson
John Gibson

Please include a replica sticker in next week's issue ! I need something mandatory in my life ....

Stephanie M. Harp
Stephanie M. Harp

A privaye citizen being an asshole about speech DOES NOT IMPLICATE THE FIRST AMENDMENT and it is irresponsible journalism to indicate that it does. Claiming that made your piece wholly unreliable and uninformed.

David Alan Turchen
David Alan Turchen

So what was listed as the reason for eviction on the papers served?

Nef Harmouche
Nef Harmouche

If you can afford $1600 a month for 700 sqft of cheap ass apartment space that appear to look "luxurious" then u can afford a mortgage!!!

Seitu Kayode
Seitu Kayode

The parking sticker is a dumb procedure...so a tenant gets penalized for forgetting a sticker!?! And over 200 bucks! I could never live like that....under duress!

Houbear
Houbear

Which part is a fabrication?  The towing, the glib response, or the eviction?  Sounds like the guy is nice to you because you're a Realtor and he doesn't want a bad reputation within your community.  "I'm going to write a story about you" was a ridiculous response from someone in charge of a company.

krisrhodes
krisrhodes

@Houbear  " their First Amendment rights, "

Well, that part is false. 1st amendment of Bill of Rights limits the ability of the government to constrain your speech, and in no way covers interaction of individuals with each other. Unless they are claiming that the management company is a government institution.

While this article certainly is tailored to make the property manager out to be slimey - and I have little knowledge about them - a blatent error about rights gives me little trust in their journalism. 


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