Elderly local woman evicted after complaining about neighbor

BARTLETT, Texas (KWTX) A 79-year old Bartlett woman is looking for a place to live after an eviction notice was posted on the door of her apartment that ordered her and her daughter to be out by Monday.

Margaret Starling and her daughter Melissa. (Photo by Chelsea Edwards)

"All the stuff going on out here, we were the ones that were targeted," said Margaret Starling as a tear rolled down her cheek.

She says she's called her apartment at the Crittenden Village low-income apartment complex in Bartlett home since 2002, but after complaining about a neighbor’s drug activity, she got an eviction notice.

Court records show police responded to 22 calls over the past year, some as late as 3 a.m., but officers say they found no evidence of drugs.

"We did what we're supposed to do; you see something say something," Starling’s daughter, Melissa Starling said.

She claims that evidence of drug activity was always covered up by the time police got to the apartment.

In February, the mother and daughter were accused of saying too much in the form of a verbal threat.

Soon after, they received a 30-day notice of lease termination.

The letter claims the Starlings violated their lease agreement under ‘tenant obligations,” which requires residents “to act in a manner not to disturb other tenant’s peaceful enjoyment of their accommodation.”

"We're the ones living in a hostile environment," Melissa said.

In April, in their first attempt to stay, a judge ruled in favor of the Bartlett Housing Authority, which had filed against them.

But the family says they haven't been able to find a place to live.

"We've been in Belton. We've been in Temple. We've been to Taylor,” says Margaret.

“We've been everywhere, and everywhere you go, it's a waiting list."

They said they were visited and told to be out by the last week in May and that a housing board member threatened to put their things out on the street in the rain.

However, a landlord has to file an eviction suit in order to remove someone from the property.

Texas law states, “A landlord may not remove you from his/her property without a final order from a Justice of the Peace court.”

In order to stay in their home, the Starlings would have needed hard evidence against their neighbor to back up accusations during their original court hearing.

An official eviction was filed days after the Starlings say the landlord and board member visited.

As for an appeal, the women say they can't afford one.