HOUSTON — Homeowners aren’t the only ones dealing with the aftermath of this week’s storm. Lots of people are cleaning up after pipes burst causing damage to apartments and rental properties.
So what are renters responsible for and what should they be doing right now? John Boriack, president of the Houston Apartment Association, said it comes down to whether or not folks had renter’s insurance.
He said with so many people affected by this cold weather, there is no time to waste.
Repairs in homes damaged by broken pipes during the extreme cold weather in Texas are underway. In Houston. Boriack said apartments across the city suffered damage.
“We had our maintenance teams working almost around the clock running from apartment to apartment trying to cap leaks off and mitigate damages and get services restored to residents as quickly as possible,” Boriack said.
He hopes people who were affected had renter’s insurance.
“If you had damage, you need to file a claim through your renter’s insurance as quickly as possible to cover the damages to your personal property, contents inside your home,” Boriack said.
Make sure to document everything by taking pictures and video and keep receipts related to the incident.
Boriack said because of the widespread damage, insurance claims may take longer than usual.
“Nobody’s dealt with this level of claims before and this wave of claims,” Boriack said. “Everybody in Houston almost has this damage so insurance companies of course are going to be a little slower than normal process requests.”
He said a building’s structure like the pipes, walls and siding are covered by the property owners’ insurance.
“Renters are not responsible for covering the cost of repairing busted pipes in the ceiling or anything like that. They are responsible to report it to the management and we highly recommend that you do that quickly and in writing," Boriack said.
If you don’t have renter’s insurance, you may qualify for assistance from FEMA or local charities.
Boriack said if there’s a disagreement with the landlord as to who is responsible for the damage and fixing it, contact the Houston Apartment Association’s renter’s helpline.