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Resident · 2011
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04/22/2011
"CORPUS CHRISTI - KRIS 6 News has received more complaints from residents at the Everhart Place Apartments. On Wednesday, we first told you about Jeanell Ross. She told us raw sewage had been leaking from the ceiling of her apartment bathroom for about a week. Maintenance workers finally fixed the problem after we aired her story. But while following up on her struggles, another resident came forward and said her apartment also needed repairs. She told us part of her ceiling collapsed last year and it still hasn't been fixed. Angel Boyer makes sure she cooks meals using the hot stove only during the day for her children because at night, it gets too hot. "I have to go buy fans which I shouldn't because each room has a ceiling fan. I am paying for A/C when I do not have central heat and air," said Boyer. She leaves the door open to let cool air in during the summer. During the winter time, the apartment management did give the family a space heater but it doesn't heat up the entire apartment, so the family uses the stove as another source of heat. These problems are what the family of five has been living with for over six months now. "I was always promised it will be fixed, it will be fixed," said Boyer. It's not. Parts of the air duct are covered in mold. Part of the ceiling collapsed back in October after the heavy rains. Boyer says all the maintenance crew did was add plastic. She says when it rains, she has to put something to catch the water. There is usually a damp smell that comes off of the vent, so Boyer uses dryer sheets to put over the vents. Boyer says she's not the only one. There are other residents at the complex who are forced to live in these hazardous conditions. A secretary asked us to leave when we tried to get some answers from management. Boyer says she was offered another apartment to stay in but the carpet had dog urine. She says when she asked management to replace the carpet, they refused. Boyer's lease ends in July and she says she is looking forward to moving to another apartment complex. It turns out there is help for apartment residents who may find themselves in similar situations. We went to city hall to find out if there's anyone to turn to when tenants are forced to live in hazardous conditions. The city can give you free legal aid. Since the apartment management wasn't giving us answers, we went to the city to see what they could do. We were directed to the Texas Property Code. Turns out there was an amendment that became effective January 1st. Leon Bazar, Director of Human Relations, says "they can go to the justice of the peace and request a repair order and of course, if that's not done, then there are some penalties that can occur." After you file the complaint with the justice of the peace and nothing is done within 10 days, the landlord could face a civil penalty which includes one month's rent plus $500. "Last year you could do the same thing, but you had to go through the state district court and have an attorney. Now you can just go directly as an individual and present yourself to the justice of the peace and file a complaint," says Bazar. In order to qualify, you must continue to pay rent and give the landlord a written repair request that allows reasonable time for repair. If the landlord fails to comply with the order by the justice of the peace, then they could be fined up to $100 dollars and taken to the city jail for up to three days."....and they let 5-6 people live in one bedroom apts..i live with one other person and my water bill has skyrocketed.
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