Tenants on holiday not notified of Arbors water leak

Two Sam Houston State University students returned to their apartment at The Arbors Sunday evening after the Easter break to find their two-bedroom apartment completely disheveled.

Criminal justice senior Alex Layfield and his sister mass communication senior Lauren Layfield have lived at The Arbors since August 2013.

“My experience with The Arbors has been fairly good until now,” Alex Layfield said. “They are slow when given maintenance request but eventually have solved the issues we’ve had.”

According to Alex Layfield, the two were confronted with an apartment full of portable dryers with no explanation as to why.
“It turns out that there was a water leak in the apartment above ours, and these dryers were there to supposedly prevent any water damage to our apartment,” Alex Layfield said. “Our furniture was moved to the center of the rooms and all of our stuff had been carelessly thrown into the middle of the rooms as well. We were unable to live there with all of the stuff the way it was.”

According to The Arbors property manager Helen Calhoun, the water leak was caused by the tenant above the Layfields on the third floor of building nine, who “stepped on the supply line to their toilet.” Calhoun said that the water leak happened around 12:30 a.m. Friday and her only concern at that point was stopping the water from damaging personal property—not necessarily notifying the tenants in the three total apartments affected of their entry.

The leak affected three apartments total: the Layfields’ as well as the one above and below theirs.

“We’ve done everything that we possibly can in our power,” Calhoun said. “The only thing where I failed was not calling [the Layfields]. I would not have done anything differently.”

According to Calhoun, she “overslept” the next day after the water leak and was unable to contact the tenants prior to their arrival home.

“The Arbors responded claiming the reasons for not notifying us was simply due to exhaustion of working on this issue,” Alex Layfield said. “This was not thought out because there was an outside contractor involved, and they were the people hired to place the dryers. They are also responsible for the air quality and making the determination of whether or not we can go back in. Therefore, the Arbors assumes no responsibility for the damage to our stuff, if any, and for the dryers. However, it was the Arbors place to notify us of this issue, which they did not do.”

According to SHSU Student Legal Services attorney Gene Roberts, the relationship between tenants and landlords are dictated by the Texas Property Codes which suggests that landlords are supposed to “diligently” address issues in a “reasonably time” period which is considered seven days.

“From a legal standpoint, I don’t know if the property code requires notice by email or a text message or something prior to entry—that may be something required in contract,” Roberts said. “One would think that with the nature of this event and with the ease of technology the landlord could have provided some type of notice to the tenants that there was a leak and repairs were being made so the tenants could come and try to mitigate damages and remove their own property like clothes, furniture, that type of thing.”

The Layfields acknowledged that in an emergency situation, tenants did not need to be notified prior to entry however they said they were under the assumption they would at least be told afterward, if at all.

According to Calhoun, she has offered to put the displaced tenants up in hotel rooms until they can return on Wednesday, which have been declined. She also offered to provide compensation for electricity and water used by the complex to prevent water damage as well as money for gas used to transport the tenants between Huntsville and their home two hours away in Kerens, Texas.

In addition, the Layfields have made an agreement with The Arbors to get out of their lease a month early without penalty.

Alex Layfield said that especially after this instance, he would not consider The Arbors as being the best apartment complex in Huntsville, despite their winning that title for the past two years.

“I’ve never considered the Arbors to be the best in Huntsville, but I cannot compare it to anywhere else since I have only ever lived in the Arbors,” Alex Layfield said. “I will say that I did not vote for them, but I did not vote against them either.”

Disclaimer: Lauren Layfield is the Assistant Campus Culture Editor of The Houstonian.


There are 61 comments

  1. peanut

    So it would have been better if the manager just let all their stuff get ruined? Wow. Talk about ungrateful. She wasn't obligated to move their stuff in order to prevent damage. She could have just stood there and said, "Oh well. I hope they have renters insurance."

    1. JCM064

      You clearly don't understand how brilliant Layfield is. Why didn't this Calhoun lady assign Layfield as foreman of this project?! THE PEOPLE DESERVE TO KNOW!

  2. Goose

    How is this a news story? lol Sounds like some spoiled little brat who works at The Houstonian got her friends to try and play reporter. Note to self: next time I see an emergency, stop what I'm doing and call the Layfield family: that's way more important than actually fixing the problem at hand. Maybe Hannah's next story can be about her friend's boyfriend dumping her--you know, real hard-hitting journalism.

    1. JCM064

      In fairness, Hannah always writes decent stuff. Not very becoming of her to reduce herself to this BS. I guess that's what happens when you let your dense friends tell you what to write.

      1. Robert Sharp

        Don't forget about how Mrs. Calhoun "over slept". How DARE her! she should have just chugged a 5 hr energy and just kept going. Does she not understand that The Layfields need answers NOW and she does not deserve to have a holiday?? I cant help but wonder in the back of my mind though how much more hellish their lives are going to be at that complex if the office sees this.... This is a perfect example of why you should pick your battles, girls!

    1. hannah rose

      The point is that a HORRIBLE property manager put fans in the little princesses apartment and they were slightly inconvenienced for a day. The struggle is so real for these poor girls!! Who to jumpstart the GoFundMe account for them?

      1. Goose

        I'll throw $15 into a gofundme to never have to read another Layfield article. That girl would get fired from an M&M factory for throwing away all of the W's lol

      2. JCM064

        We have a running joke in the office I work at on campus about how difficult this Layfield girl is to deal with. I would chip in for a gofundme to get her out of here and send her to a community college where she belongs.

      3. Robert Sharp

        That doesn't surprise me. They seem like the type of people that even tampons go running the opposite direction when they see them coming.

  3. JCM064

    Hmmmmm... looks like The Houstonian filtered my comment about their lack of Journalistic Integrity (a 1st amendment beneficiary limiting critical speech). At least with Layfield on staff, they can boast about their program employing the illiterate. She writes total garbage.

    1. Goose

      Back when I went to Sam, The Houstonian was better than The Item--now they're both at a race to the bottom... Maybe it's a good thing that print media is about to be dead: half of these people will finally be in the unemployment line.

  4. hannah rose

    "Next on irrelevant and distastefully written news, The Kardashians!" I mean, seriously? Alex and Lauren are upset because instead of calling them, at 12:30am, the property manager left her own family to come out to make sure their unit and belongings weren't damaged? It sure is funny to listen to people talk about their lease and their rights when they wouldn't be able to tell you the first thing that popped up on their lease. Get over yourself, and just thank the heavens that you actually have a property manager who gives a crap. Side note, Hannah, take some advise and lets use some discretion when you write. This is so poorly written and it kind of makes you look like an idiot.

    1. JCM064

      The best part of the article: "I never had a problem with my apartment complex until they responded to a maintenance emergency after midnight on the most holy day of the christian calendar to make sure my stuff didn't get ruined when the legal expert admits that they didn't even have to show up for 7 days."

      1. Robert Sharp

        The only thing i learned from this article is that the Arbors seems like a pretty decent place to live. I would love it if the manager where i live actually cared when stuff broke in my apartment. Hey Helen, can i sublease their apartment???

  5. Robert Sharp

    I think the worst part about this article is that these Layfield girls think they are doing everyone a public service by allowing this to be written. Let me learn you something here, little girls. Do you understand that the next article on the Houstonian is about child abuse? do you understand that you are just making yourself look like easily the most difficult and irrational person to deal with? Do you honestly think that you coming home to fans in your apartment because your property manager was looking out for you and didn't want your tacky belongings to be damaged is news worthy? Get a life. People like you actually infuriate me to my very core because you think that your petty inconveniences are an actual problem. BE THANKFUL SHE ACTUALLY CAME OUT TO TAKE CARE OF THE PROBLEM! Also, get renters insurance and get the stick out of your backside.

      1. Robert Sharp

        Seriously? Lets name all the significant problems we have going on in the world and we get a ground breaking article about someone not getting a phone call? Maybe i should go to St. Judes and read this article to the sick kids as a quick uplift. "See kids? It could be worse."

  6. WillR********

    Lauren Layfield: Proving to America that you don't have to be nice, smart or pretty to work in mass media. I call that a trailblazer.

    1. Bryan O'Donnell

      She should include a link to this comment thread on her resume. I thought i had seen a potential career crash in burn in front of my face before, but this may actually take the cake.

  7. Bryan O'Donnell

    Hey Lauren, quick question. My apartment complex usually does their landscaping on Wednesdays but the landscapers had the audacity to show up on Thursday instead. This was an incredible inconvenience because my dog had to walk through an unmanicured dog park and i did not receive one phone call!! Can the next article be about that?

      1. Bryan O'Donnell

        I am just waiting for the *editors note- Lauren is no longer affiliated with The Houstonian due to her lack of common sense and discretion. Even though we strive to give young writers the opportunity to express themselves and strengthen their writing abilities, we can not in good conscience allow her to be part of our team any longer*

  8. Stacy Rondot

    Can The Houstonian do a Worst of Huntsville contest? I can think of a couple of things for which I would like to nominate Lauren Layfield and the lackluster staff that made room in the paper for this garbage, but made me go to the website to read about the Child Abuse story. Screw Child abuse--Let's make sure your disgruntled friend gets her grievance in the paper! What a joke. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    1. Bryan O'Donnell

      Stacy, you hit the nail on the head. I said the exact same thing but my comment is "waiting for approval". This is such a joke

  9. Cameron J.

    Wow. I expected better from Zedacker. I guess she fell victim to the notoriously awful professionalism of The Houstonian.

  10. Kay

    I can not believe how hurtful you people are! I know the Layfields personally, both Alex and his Sister Lauren are great people! What happened to them could happen to anyone and any of you, and you would be saying the same things they are! Stop being hypocritical and be realistic! This is an online article which means it can be viewed by anyone at any time, so can the child abuse article, but you clicked this, your fault not theirs. Stop bashing and be real! I wouldn't want someone coming in my apartment and moving all of my things without my knowledge, I don't care if it's freakinf Christmas, I better get a phone call telling what is going on in my apartment! As an apartment manager she is responsible for everything that goes on at the Arbors. I agree fully with the Layfields and this article!

    1. symphonic1

      Yeah she's responsible for fixing the leak, Not to make sure NO or Minimal damage is done to her tenants belongings, that a damn luxury these tenants should be grateful for. I believe that is what most of the commenters are referring to.

    2. Shanae

      Kay, learn a lease contract before you decide to chime in. If you were an intelligent human being then you would have requested a copy of your lease contract upon signing like i did. Let me refer you to page 4 section 28 of the TAA student lease contract: *and i quote* "If you or any co-resident, guest or occupant is present, then repairers, servicers, contractors, our representatives, or other persons listed in (2) below may peacefully enter the bedroom or apartment at reasonable time for the purposes listed in (2) below. If nobody is in the bedroom or apartment, then such persons may enter peacefully and at reasonable times by duplicate or master key (or by breaking a window or other means when necessary) if:" *and I'm going to go ahead and skip to section (2)* "entry is for: responding to your or any co-residents request; making repairs or replacements; estimating repair or refurbishing costs; performing pest control; doing preventive maintenance; checking for water leaks; changing filters...." the list goes on and on. Where i am confused on your stance is how could you possibly think that a flood wouldn't fall in to those terms? Also, helpful hint, no where in the lease contract does it say that they need to call you before entering your unit. THEY ARE RENTERS! they do not own the unit and in turn not responsible for the catastrophic damage a flood can cause. Helen is. That being said, you don't want people coming in to your unit when there is a 100% chance that your belongings would be damaged? Yeah.... that's reasonable... *eye-roll* Read the section where the Legal Services attorney stated that a reasonable time is considered (7) days. Helen could have let that damage sit there for a WEEK but she didn't. Your argument is invalid.

      1. Robert Sharp

        You would think that the legal council they got would have informed them of that, but then again, I have a suspicious feeling that they conveniently left out multiple facts in this article.

    3. Robert Sharp

      You cant believe how hurtful people are? Are you serious? Did we just read the same article because what I gathered was that those "great people" you are referring to tried to start some type of ill-crafted witch hunt towards their property manager. When it comes down to it, the Layfields decided that something wasn't handled in the way that fits them best so they used their connections with the Houstonian to put her on blast. Where I come from, that would be considered "hurtful". Here is some breaking news for you: you are just a dense and entitled as them.

    4. chris caldwell

      Lauren used her position to personally attack someone. Did you even read the article? Yeah you probably wrote it. I'm pretty sure that you are just a friend of Laurens, trying to stick up for her, whatever your name really is. You must be her only friend, I don't see anyone else sticking up for her. Are you her boss? Well tell your friend that this will probably follow her for the rest of her career, so she might want to pick something other than journalism. Let me think...waste management comes to mind.

  11. Cameron J.

    Keep it moving, guys. There's no conflict of interest to be seen here.

    (Breakaway to picture of Layfield and Zedacker being cute on IG two weeks ago) #JournalisticIntegrity

    1. JackJack

      Who is the Editor and Chief of the paper these days? How did she/he let something this blatantly dishonest make it passed her/his desk?? The editor should either apologize to Ms. Calhoun, reprimand these girls for using the paper as their own personal sounding board with no journalistic code of ethics, or step down for letting this happen. This is absolutely ludicrous.

  12. chris caldwell

    I hope Lauren saves this article for her resume. This is some solid journalism. Dan Rather would be proud…oh wait he got fired for ethical reasons. Lauren Layfield should be fired for trying use her position with the paper to attack someone. This sounds like nothing more than a personal vendetta against Helen. So, the poor baby didn’t get a phone call? It sounds like Helen was too busy trying to protect the crybaby’s belongings to pick up the phone. I have lived at the Arbors for almost 4 years. Helen has done nothing but improve this place. All of my maintenance requests have been quickly addressed. And yes, I do believe the Arbors to be the best
    apartments in Huntsville. The article says that the Layfield’s are getting out of their lease early. The only thing I can say to that is, GOOD RIDDANCE. By the way, does anyone know what apartment Lauren lives in? I want to stay clear of that building so I don’t end up on the front page of the paper. Another question…who at the Houstonion approves these articles for print? They should be fired too. This was a feature story, really?

  13. peanut

    The situation would be upsetting for anyone, but taking it out on the person trying to help the most is a poor choice on the Layfield's part and this paper has shown the judgement of a 12 year old. There are so many parents who have their kids living at the Arbors PRECISELY because Helen is there.

    1. JackJack

      The editor that allowed this to make it passed their desk should either apologize or step down, no doubt. Journalistic Ethics mean nothing to these people.

  14. Janice Teague

    Cliff Notes on the above article: There was a flood. Property manager responded immediately. Moved the residents belongings in a hurry so there would be no damage to their stuff. Property Manager called appropriate contractors to handle the aforementioned flood. Installed fans to dry out unit. Went home, got some rest. Woke up to confused residents calling to find out what had happened. Explained situation. Residents became inappropriately agitated. Property Manager offered gas money, hotel stay, as well as a lease cancellation. Residents still weren't happy because this is America and everything should be more than perfect in their lives. Residents escalate "story" to newspaper because people bending over backwards to accommodate them, after something that was in no way the property managers fault or in her control happened, is JUST SIMPLY NOT ENOUGH!! Lets forget about the girl who wrote this article, we will just assume she probably had too many red rockets one night and thought she was doing her friend a solid. However, I still find myself asking the question, who is this chief editor that allowed this story to pass over his desk? Let me guess.... yall are friends too.... How could you actually feel this was an appropriate story to run?

  15. bearkat

    "Disclaimer: Lauren Layfield is the Assistant Campus Culture Editor of The Houstonian." Do you think that disclaimer helped or harmed the integrity of this article? Now, this is a shot in the dark, but im leaning more towards "harmed". Girls, get it together. This is a newspaper. Not a place for you to release your frustration on a topic that no one cares about except you.

  16. chris caldwell

    Okay, so the more I think about people using their position at a newspaper to launch a personal attack, the more p***ed off I get. I would like to ask everyone to join me in demanding a printed apology from all parties that were involved with this article making it to print. I think the apology needs to be on the front page, ahead of other stories, including rape and child abuse. If no such apology is
    issued, I will no longer be reading this paper, because I will no longer believe that this paper is trying to print stories with integrity that are unbiased. Forget about firing anyone, this will follow them for the rest of their careers. It should be enough penalty to them for this to come up on the background checks when they are going through the job interview process.

    1. MrP

      I'm about 10 min away from pulling my company's advertising dollar from this "news" paper. I don't want to advertise in a gossip column--it reflects poorly on my business. You're completely correct: they owe that poor woman an apology.

    2. Susan

      I completely agree. This article is not only unprofessional but it also lacks integrity. I am absolutely baffled by the fact that the editor would not only entertain this type of tasteless reporting, but encourage it by printing it in the paper! They absolutely owe Mrs. Calhoun an apology, and I believe it needs to be a public one. From all 3 parties. Shame on the girls for putting together such a slanderous article and shame on the editor for approving it. I am also inclined to ask that the documentation of the comments this newspaper received from The Arbors be published as well because I find it VERY hard to believe that they released a statement stating the property manager "over-slept". Hear-say, and assumptions from the Layfields are NOT facts. I am 100% disgusted by the reporting displayed in this article.

  17. MrP

    I advertise in The Houstonian to try and help out the kids in the Journalism Department, but I am not OK with them using it to hurt local businesspersons in order to live out their own personal vendettas. I will not be purchasing another ad until an apology is issued.

  18. Sarah

    How has the Houstonian not addressed this yet?? Classless. There is NO way they haven't seen these comments and the fact that they are continuing to remain mum on this issue really shows a lack of respect to Huntsville residents and people who work here in our community. This newspaper really does need to issue an apology and an updated article that actually includes facts.

  19. CrazyCorgiLady

    Everybody needs to calm down. They're kids, they make mistakes. I'm sure they'll do the right thing, apologize for their editorial nepotism and learn from their mistakes. Lauren was probably upset and allowed it to get the best of her and reflected that to her friends who happened to sit in a very public desk in our community. Surely they'll apologize.

    1. chris caldwell

      Yes well even kids need to realize that there are consequences to their
      actions. Thanks to the internet and social media, there is a permanent
      record of their "mistake".

  20. chris caldwell

    At the risk of sounding like I am beating a dead horse. There is one more fact that needs to come out
    about this article. It has come to my attention that there was a flat out lie in this article. The statement “According to Calhoun, she “overslept”” is a complete fabrication. She did not oversleep, nor did she tell anyone that she overslept. In fact, she was not even scheduled to work on this day. So, this statement amounts to Libel, which is a written defamatory statement. Congratulations to Ms. Helen for not responding this article. It shows us all how much class she has.

  21. Rob Roberts

    Apparently everyone on these comments are news-writing professionals?! I had no idea that all of you knew the whole story in its entirety. I guess all of y'all are the best snoopers and detectives on the planet to know how it all went down.. or perhaps you are simply friends with the owner of the complex or work for the complex. It's simply one side's word vs another side's word, but how dare you attack and insult the writer of this article. How do you know how the facts that they got came out? Exactly, you don't. You weren't there. You're just going off hearsay. Do you honestly think verbally abusing and insulting the writer of this article is going to get you anywhere? Are you 11 years old?! How about you be a professional and take your concerns to the school in-person rather than bashing it online in some kind of passive-aggressive charade that will clearly not do anything, but provide you with some temporary self-gratification that you can attack someone through the internet like some juvenile internet troll. As a third party alumni of SHSU, I cannot believe the slander that you people are throwing around at the author. I'm sure that she is in college for a reason, to learn and improve on her writing and reporting. So, why don't you guys take a step back for two seconds and realize that these are students, not professional journalists. You want to talk about defamation and disrespect? Look at your comments. Way to go, hypocrites. There are ways to go about expressing your concerns and issues, this is sure not the way to do it. Grow up.

    1. symphonic1

      You mad bro? I think there's a few sentences in your statement that could easily be directed towards the author as well. Writing an article about a petty issue like this for one of your friends far exceeds the Journalistic integrity we have come to expect from the Houstonian, which is a publication that has existed for over 100 years, is a member of Texas Intercollegiate Press Association, a member of the Associated Collegiate Press, and was named in the Top 100 College Newspapers for journalism students. These credentials are taken directly from the Houstonian home page. Look what I've done for you below.

      "Do you honestly think verbally abusing and insulting the Arbors on this article is going to get you anywhere? Are you 11 years old?! How about you be a professional and take your concerns to the Arbors in-person rather than bashing it online in some kind of passive-aggressive charade that will clearly not do anything, but provide you with some temporary self-gratification that you can attack someone through the internet like some juvenile internet troll"

      1. Robert Sharp

        I was reading that comment the EXACT same way. I applaud you, my friend. I think the best part about that comment was that Rob Roberts is accusing commenters of doing the exact same thing little ms Lauren Layfield did. Irony at its finest.

    2. Robert Sharp

      Let me assure you Rob, I am far from a "news-writing professional", nor do I work at the Arbors, but what I do know is the difference from right and wrong. This article was WRONG.... and youre right, they are college students which means it is time to balls up and take the criticism like adults. Its that codling garbage that made them entitled and this is the outcome. That's nice of you to come to their defense but they need to understand that sometimes you need to admit when you have messed up. We did said nothing in the comments that is any worse than what those girls said about that property manager. They decided to use their position with the paper to tear down a woman who was just trying to do her job. Shame on you.

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