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

Categories: Spaced City

apartment.jpg
Mum's the word.
Clarification: Croom was not served with a written eviction notice by Midtown Properties, nor did she allege she had been. She claimed that Gould told her on the phone that he wanted her off the property because she talked to the Houston Press.

Midtown Properties operates 13 boutique apartment complexes in Montrose -- they're some of the loveliest places you can find inside the loop. Tenants pay a higher than average rent, and in exchange they get clean, well-kept and stylish digs with a charm that distinguishes them from neighboring cookie-cutter complexes that spread like kudzu.

There's only one hitch: Jeff Gould, Midtown's vice president, runs a tight ship. If a tenant expresses concern to a reporter about the management of one of his properties, he may try to evict that tenant. So you better shut your goddamn trap.

We hadn't realized until this week that some tenants in Houston have to sacrifice their First Amendment rights, and with the population explosion here, we feel obligated to give the public a heads-up.

This unwritten rule was brought to our attention by former Houston Press employee Brenna Croom, a five-year Midtown tenant. She pays $25 a month, on top of rent, for a covered parking spot. Midtown gives stickers to folks with covered spots, but they're not the kind of stickers that, like, stick. They're not like state inspection stickers that have to be scraped off. They're like oil-change-reminder stickers that tend to peel off after a while.

Croom's sticker fell off at some point, and unfortunately for her, she forgot to note this in her sticker diary. So at 11 p.m. Tuesday, while she was home, her vehicle was towed. Now, there are no red-and-white tow warning signs on the property, which state law requires before a vehicle can be towed. But still, the SUV was towed and Croom was told it would cost $233 to retrieve it.

She voiced her frustration to the Press after management wouldn't give her a break. Sure, her vehicle didn't have a sticker, and it should have. But management didn't dispute that she was a tenant and that she was actually parked in a spot she pays extra for, and, to Croom, it seemed like this was just one of those things on which reasonable people can compromise.

Nah. She was told that rules are rules. At Ranger Tow, though, they gave her a discount, because they understood that this was not a situation where someone was parking in a spot they didn't pay for. In other words, the folks at Ranger Tow were reasonable.

The whole thing sounded unfortunate, so we thought we'd call Gould to find out his side.

"We've got neighboring properties that are...continuously parking their vehicles on our property's parking area," he told us. He said notices are sent out "from time to time" to remind residents to make sure their stickers stay on.

"It's designed to keep, you know, violators from taking resident parking," he said. "It happens all the time." Bottom line: "It's all about the parking sticker." (Which, again, is a good reason why Midtown tenants need to have sticker diaries).

But when we tried to ask more questions, Gould got impatient. We didn't, for example, get a chance to ask about how many vehicles were towed from Midtown properties in the past six months. The owner of Ranger Tow told us that his drivers tow one or two vehicles a year from the property where Croom lives. That's one vehicle every 182-1/2 days, which means we have a different understanding of the word "continuously" than Gould does.

"I don't have time to debate the parking sticker with you," Gould said. "...Policies are policies." We kept waiting for him to fill us in on something Croom was keeping from us -- like she never once paid rent on time in her five years as a tenant; that she converted her kitchen into a meth lab; or that her apartment was the hub of a clandestine international giraffe-hide-smuggling ring. Something to indicate that she was an unsympathetic character.

Instead, Gould told us this: "I'm going to write an article about you, too." (He didn't say where his article would be published, otherwise we'd link to it, because we're sure it'll be a knockout.)


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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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