Houston renters face more health hazards in apartments after sewage leak

First a sewage leak in their apartments, and now the City of Houston Code Enforcement has slapped an apartment complex with warnings for several more health hazards.

Renters say they don't feel safe.


"It's not good having to breathe in everything from the gas, the sewage, water sitting, a whole bunch of gnats and flies. It's horrible. It's hard to live here," said tenant Chinettia Fontenot.

Fontenot says she and some of her neighbors at Sungregor Apartments at 3631 N MacGregor Way have no running hot water, and her bathtub won't drain.

"I'm having to suck the water out of the tub with a shop vac and use hot water, boil hot water on the stove," she told us. "No running hot water."

She says there is mold on air vents, and lights flicker on and off.

"We have flashing lights. They are on and off when they want to," Fontenot said.

And she says she smells gas.

"The meters are right behind my apartment and we smell gas all the time," She added It's all the time."

RELATED: Houston tenants say raw sewage has been leaking into their apartments for 10 days

Regarding the sewage leak that flooded some apartments back on June 29, the Houston Health Department tells us it has "confirmed repairs are complete and there is no evidence of current overflow or odor."  

But the City of Houston Building Code Enforcement have now posted Final Notices on the apartment manager's door, ordering the owner to restore hot water immediately, repair electrical, structural, and plumbing problems, and show proof of a current gas test.

After FOX 26 contacted the complex owner, Efrem Sewell, about the sewage leak last week, he provided renters hotel rooms during repairs and had the affected units cleaned.  

But Fontenot says with these other issues, she doesn't feel safe living there.

"I want to break my lease, but I have nowhere to go right now," she said.

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We reached out to Sewell twice, but haven't heard back yet. Previously, he told us he had just purchased these apartments a couple of months ago and was working to fix them up.

According to Texas law, any renter facing a home health hazard must notify the landlord in writing twice before taking further action. Then if it's not repaired, they have the right to end the lease, repair it themselves, or sue the landlord to make repairs.

Renters who need help can contact Lone Star Legal Aid and call 211 if they need a place to stay.