IRVING (CBSDFW.COM) — A family whose apartment was among 30 units that were destroyed in a fire over the weekend said the management at the Terrace on Finley wouldn’t release them out of their lease, until CBS 11 got involved.

Lalo Maldonado was one of more than 80 people displaced after a fire tore through three buildings at the Irving apartment complex.

Several displaced families were relocated into vacant units at the complex or at sister properties.

That wasn’t the case for Maldonado.

“[Management] called me back that afternoon and said, ‘The only thing we’re going to do for you is offer you a one bedroom apartment. You’ll have to sign a six-month lease with us at the new complex or you can walk away, but you’re going to be held responsible for the lease,'” he said.

Maldonado, who lives with his wife and two daughters, had been living there to try to repair his credit and save money to buy a home.

“How can I be held responsible for a lease on an apartment that doesn’t exist anymore? It’s gone,” Maldonado said. “We just want to walk away from this but if we do now we suffer that being on our credit.”

Frustrated, Maldonado reached out to CBS 11.

CBS 11 then reached out to Kathy Carlton, Director of Government Affairs for the Apartment Association of Greater Dallas, who said putting a family of four into a one bedroom apartment violates Fair Housing Regulations.

“In this case, the resident is well within their rights to give a five-day notice to vacate to move out and they can be released from their contract because of the condition of the unit,” Carlton said.

Only after CBS 11 reached out to Bridge Property Management, a third party management company who operates the complex, did they agree.

“We have approved their request to seek housing elsewhere with no liability or penalty,” said Tom Potvien, Vice President at Bridge Property Management.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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