Hotel Tenants Relocated Because of Bat Infestation

For years, Angelina House in Lufkin has been home to Section 8 tenants. In the past, the building has always met the housing authority's health and safety codes, but the latest inspection raised some concerns, and now, the tenants are looking for a new home because of bat infestation.

Lillie Stewart moved to the Angelina Estates nearly two years ago. She said, "When I moved in, I had money problems, but I'd like to get out of there. I'd like to find me a better place and move on."

The housing authority does a Section 8 re-certification inspection on all its rental properties once a year; sooner if there are complaints from tenants. All landlords are notified of any violations and given time to fix any problems. Angelina Estates has called in a professional exterminator from Houston to remove bats from the building.

"We'll receive that report and another inspection will be required, and once they [meet] Section 8 quality standards, they will be eligible for placement again [for Section 8 tenants]," said Walter Diggles, D.E.T.C.O.G. executive director.

Brenda and Jesse Howard bought the Angelina House last year and changed the name to Angelina Estates. The couple promised to renovate the hotel and restore it to its original condition.

"The landlord has a lease agreement with our agency that requires them to keep those properties up to Section 8 quality standards, so that's their responsibility," Diggles said. "It shouldn't have to be reported by the tenants."

Co-owner Brenda Howard said she and her husband have made some renovations on the hotel and are planning to continue with some much-needed improvements. She also said she was unaware of any problems at the hotel.

Before the latest housing inspection, there were eight Section 8 tenants living in the Angelina Estates. They will all be relocated to new housing by the end of the week.