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San Antonio Apartment Complex Locks Out 50 Residents Despite Eviction Moratorium

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Around 50 residents of a north-of-downtown apartment complex were locked out Monday in what local officials are calling a violation of a local moratorium on evictions during the coronavirus pandemic.

Residents at the Olmos Club Apartments on the 800 block of Basse Road returned home to find themselves locked out of their units, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said during a Monday evening press briefing.

Wolff called the move a "flagrant violation" of the eviction moratorium and said he'd asked the DA's office and law enforcement officials to look into the incident.

Contacted by phone, the complex's property manager, Edward Garza, confirmed that new locks were installed on the apartments of residents who owe rent. However, he said the move doesn't qualify as an eviction because residents can still ask to be allowed into their units.

"We're doing everything by law," Garza said. "We talked to the lawyers. We're not breaking no laws. We're not doing nothing wrong."

The complex is owned by Florida-based MacTex Properties, Garza said.

Wolff said he's in discussions with the DA's office on the best course of action, but adding that the city and county have both created emergency funding for tenants. That should remove financial strain for landlords such as Olmos Club.

"It just seems such a strange thing to do," Wolff said of the complex's decision to lock out residents during the middle of the crisis.

This week, the Texas Supreme Court extended its moratorium on evictions through May 18.

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