IRVING, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – It has been more than a week since the winter storms crippled North Texas, but many renters are stuck in unlivable conditions, waiting for someone to make repairs on their behalf.
Jessica Robertson of Irving is one who went 9 days without water, and finally got it back on Friday, Feb. 26.
But what should have been exciting was overshadowed by anger, when her apartment immediately started flooding again.
“There’s standing water,” Robertson said. “It smells really bad, like mold and mildew.”
She and her children are still living in rooms with holes in the walls from last weeks flooding.
“You can see daylight coming in from the roof,” she said.
Sandy Rollins of the Texas Tenants Union says many are facing conditions like these, with little to no answers from landlords.
“Texas law is completely inadequate, even when there’s not a disaster. It’s a very landlord friendly state,” Rollins said.
Jason Busboom is the president of the Apartment Association of Tarrant County, and owns about 2,600 apartments himself.
He says the hold up is likely because much of the damage is some the average plumber can’t legally fix.
“Eighty-percent of our line leaks, our breaks where people were having issues, damage, being displaced, are from fire sprinkler lines,” Busboom said. “Generally speaking if you’re talking to a plumber, there’s a very low chance they have this special ability or license that allows them to work on fire suppression systems.”
On top of special licensing and manpower, there is a hold up on supplies at hardware stores.
“Home Depot, Lowes, they have almost no supplies,” Busboom said.
It’s a frustrating chain of events that are leaving North Texans like Jessica, feeling helpless.
“It’s very frustrating and it just, they don’t care about their residents well being,” Robertson said.
Texas law does state that you have the right to demand your landlords repair any condition that affects your physical health or safety.
If they don’t, you may be entitled to end your lease.