Assessing the flood damage as renters

- A lot of attention has been given to homeowners who became victims of the Harvey floods, but what about renters and their damaged apartments?

It's important to understand what rights renter's have to avoid an uncomfortable confrontation or a he said, she said dispute that oftentimes leads nowhere with both sides unhappy.

"Like I had a nosebleed and he's been getting migraines," says renter Whitney Clark.

"I think where it's really bad you couldn't really see it, but you could smell it and feel it in your lungs," says Whitney's husband Kelly Clark who spoke today about their decision to move out of their apartment complex.

"Because this is a catastrophic event, the flooding obviously, the property code allows for a tenant to give notice that the premises are uninhabitable, they are unsafe, they are unsanitary and give notice that they are terminating the lease," says Rosemarie Donnelly, Assistant County Attorney for Harris County.

Unlivable conditions include no air conditioning, no drinking water, even mold. The latter being the believed reason why the Clark's decided to leave.

"What I would say is mold coming out of the bathroom window and it was showing around the bathroom window and it had been there for a while," says Whitney.

The property manager saying at the request of the Clark's no work has been done in the apartment.

"I've been trying to get ahold of a mold testing company so I can get an official legal test done to prove that there's mold," says Kelly.

But when it comes to receiving a reimbursement and legally moving out, the Harris County Attorney's Office says a written notice must be given to the landlord or property management staff.

"We got in contact with one of the property managers via phone and personal cell phone number and that's where he instructed us that he wanted to show us different units in the same complex," says Whitney.

"It can get very complicated and the very best thing you can do is try to reach an agreement with your landlord," says Donnelly.

Communication is key in all of this. If you need repairs done, write it down and let your landlord know. If nothing happens in about a week, the attorney's office says to write again and demand answers.

You can also call the Harris County Attorney's Office at 713-755-6065.

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