Maintenance issues a major problem for Houston-area renters

KHOU 11 is standing for Houston by standing up for renters.

HOUSTON – In a city where more than 40 percent of the population rents, there's no shortage of maintenance issues.

Just ask single mom Ivy Lozano.

Her Willowbrook-area apartment has been without hot water for months.

"I'm unable to shower with hot water and my kids as well," she said. "I get tired of boiling water."

As if the water problem isn't bad enough, there's also a rodent issue. Cell phone video captured the critters scurrying around her apartment.

"I'm paying $709 for no water and mice in my apartment," she said.

GET HELP: Understanding your rights as a renter

Every month, Lozano says she asks the management office for help and says nothing ever happens.

"They don't call pest control," she said. "They said it's not in their budget, they don't have the money for it."

Maintenance issues at apartment complexes are a top complaint seen by the Greater Houston Better Business Bureau.

"This is not like, ‘Oh, there's a little trim on the door I don't like' or 'you towed my car when I shouldn't have parked there,'" said BBB President Dan Parsons. "This is about survivability."

Nothing will stop Josh Halter from his apartment evacuation plan in Webster.

"There's actually mold puffs growing in the closet over here in the pantry," Halter said.

He says apartment management argued that it's grime and not mold, but Halter said it started after a leak upstairs.

"It's to the point now when my health comes into play and no one's listening to me," he said. "It's time to take matters into my own hands."

Photos: Standing up for Houston-area renters

What can you do?

Parsons said that if your unresolved issues affect your health and safety, you can take your landlord to court.

First, check your lease to see what your complex will repair.

Remember that Texas law requires landlords to fix things like sewage backups, roaches, rats, no hot water, faulty wiring and a leaky roof.

If you’re fed up like Halter, remember you only keep your rights by continuing to pay rent.

And make sure you understand your lease and put every maintenance request in writing.

Follow Tiffany Craig on Facebook and Twitter.

If you have an issue that you'd like KHOU 11 Investigates to look into, send an email to investigates@khou.com.


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment