HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Apartment tenants across Harris County have been expressing concerns about deplorable living conditions for months. And now, more are speaking up about problems they can’t live with much longer.
Residents in the Grove 43rd Apartments in northwest Harris County have not had hot water for days, and in Pineforest about two miles down the road, some residents say it’s been months.
“I thought maybe it was because I just moved here and maybe they just didn’t turn it on,” explained Kenya Gainer, a mother of three living in Pineforest Apartments.
She said she has not had hot water since she moved in over two months ago and the water pressure is non-existent.
“I’ve been boiling water and giving my little kids baths in the sink in the kitchen,” said Gainer.
She said she also had a leak in her window that soaked her mattresses and her kid’s clothes.
“They got all mildew and smelly,” said Gainer. “They shampooed the carpets, but that’s it. I still don’t have hot water. They said they would come to fix it and they don’t come to fix it.”
These are issues she said have been piling up since she moved in.
“I feel like they’re making excuses. They said, ‘oh we’ve had a lot of transfers,’ but that has nothing to do with my water issue,” explained Grainer.
The management at Pineforest said the hot water issue stemmed from a Centerpoint issue involving a gas line from last week, but according to Centerpoint, they are unaware of any issues at that location. They also said they were ordering a part to be replaced in her water line and are waiting for it to be delivered.
Over at the Grove Apartments, residents still don’t have any explanation as to why there is still no hot water.
“It almost feels as if we’re just here for the money, we’re here to collect your rent so make sure you pay that on time,” explained Michael Moore, a resident in The Grove.
In an email to residents, the property management said they were also working with Centerpoint to resolve the issue, but once again, Centerpoint is saying it isn’t an issue on their end. In that same email, they provided an email that directs to a law firm that says they are unaware of the situation.
KPRC2 reached out to management about the phone number and they have not acknowledged they are aware of the issue.
KPRC2 also approached the management office and passed a woman who we were told was the property manager. She deflected our questions and said she did not work there and was unaware of any water issues. She drove off and ignored our questions about the ongoing water concerns.
“Seven days, eight days pass and after a while, you have to make something happen,” said Moore. “The hard part is they are not communicating. If they would say, ‘we’re sorry for the inconvenience and we’re going to make this right by staying on top of this.’ That’s all we want. Say, ‘hey, we’re working on it, we’re sorry it’s taking so long.’”
So, for Gainer and Moore, they will just have to wait and hope they get some hot water soon, and maybe an explanation.
“I have a two-year-old and he doesn’t want to get into a sink to bathe,” explained Gainer.
According to Houston Public Works, 5959 Pinemont has had 10 complaints of no hot water in the past 12 months, including eight in November -- one complaint of a leak and one of sewage.
Each of these issues was resolved with management and they say no citations were issued in the past 12 months. There are also no investigations for this address. They also stated there was only one no hot water complaint at The Grove Apartments in the last 12 months and that it has since been resolved.
The city says that most water issues usually fall in the hands of property managers and can be resolved internally. They also encourage any resident with issues to report it to 311. This is the only way they can log the problem and begin to investigate and work with those property managers.
Renters also have rights and may be entitled to end a lease early or get reimbursed for any repairs that protect the health, safety or security of the tenant.