IRVING, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s been over a week since winter storms crippled North Texas, but many tenants are stuck in unliveable conditions, waiting for someone to do repairs on their behalf.
Jessica Robertson of Irving is the one who went 9 days without water and finally picked it up on Friday February 26.
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But what should have been exciting was eclipsed by anger, when her apartment immediately began to flood again.
“There is standing water,” said Robertson. “It smells really bad, like mold and mildew.”
She and her children still live in rooms with holes in the walls following flooding last week.
“You can see the daylight coming from the roof,” she said.
Sandy Rollins of the Texas Tenants Union says many are faced with such conditions, with little to no response from homeowners.
“Texas law is totally inadequate, even when there is no disaster. It’s a very homeowner-friendly state, ”said Rollins.
Jason Busboom is the president of the Tarrant County Apartment Association and owns approximately 2,600 apartments himself.
He says the delay is likely due to the fact that much of the damage is certain the average plumber can’t legally fix.
“Eighty percent of our line leaks, our ruptures where people had problems, damage, displacement, are due to the sprinkler lines,” Busboom said. “Generally speaking, if you talk to a plumber, it’s very unlikely that they have that special ability or license that allows them to work on fire extinguishing systems.
In addition to special licenses and labor, there is a blockage of supplies at hardware stores.
“Home Depot, Lowes, they have almost no supplies,” Busboom said.
It’s a frustrating chain of events that leaves North Texans like Jessica feeling helpless.
“It’s very frustrating and it’s just that they don’t care about the well-being of their residents,” said Robertson.
Texas law says you have the right to require your landlords to repair any condition that affects your physical health or safety.
If they don’t, you may have the right to end your lease.