6 On Your Side: Tenant Denied Access To Running Water

6 On Your Side: Tenant Denied Access To Running Water

A Wichita Falls man claims that he has been without proper access to running water for a little over two weeks. He reached out to Newschannel6 for help with this problem.

Robert Palma rents a trailer and the land it sits on, inside of the Rolling Hills Trailer Park.

Palma is currently in a bad situation. His house has been broken into his money was taken and he currently has a broken back. He claims that the other trailers around him are empty because he is one of the few remaining tenants living in the trailer park. On the side of his house panels are torn back, exposing broken, disconnected and leaky water pipes. Some of the pipes lay on the ground scattered across the side of the trailer yard. The water must remain off because allowing the water to seep out of the leaky and unconnected faucet would be a violation of the stage 5 drought restrictions.

The Wichita Falls city officials told Newschannel6 that they have had to turn the meter on and off over the last few weeks due to the amount of water that leaked out of the trailers. The meter is now on but the water has been capped off by a valve. When the water is turned on, it goes everywhere.

"Water just spews out of all the leaks there is multiple leaks

specifically in my trailer," said Palma.

Palma closes the valve and invites me to step inside the trailer. Dishes are piled up to the top of the sink. Palma has to use jugs of water, sponges and towels if he wants to clean off his dishes. Because no water can currently come out of the sink faucet.

"I don't eat a whole lot, but all this I've been able to get jugs of water and rinse it out," said Palma.

After showing me his sink Palma brings me over to the living room to show me the jugs of water he has to buy to stay hydrated because no water runs through his pipes.

Then Palma leads me to the back of the trailer and shows me his bathroom.

"I attempted to use it a couple times and it didn't flush. Since then I have had to keep this door shut and had to spray disinfectant and all kinds of things on here just because of the smell. Very embarrassing, and it's just very unhealthy," said Palma.

Due to the lack of water inside his trailer bathroom, he has to use a commode on the front of his porch. Palma said that even though he lives in a city like Wichita Falls, the lack of repair made by his landlords makes him feel like he's living in the middle of nowhere.

"Oh, it's nasty, it sounds like living in an outhouse," said Palma.

Across from the commode, he show's me the bottle of alcohol and wipes he has to use to disinfect his hands because he cannot properly wash them with water.

The landlords refused to do an on-camera or over the phone interview. One of the landlords a female gave me her side of the story. She claimed that they have attempted to fix the pipes, but have been unsuccessful. She admitted the pipes have been out of use for roughly two weeks or more. According to the landlord Palma is behind on his rent.

The Texas Tenants Union claims that if it's true Palma is behind on his rent then the landlord can refuse to fix the problem.

Charitable organizations like the salvation army, red cross, faith mission, interfaith ministries, and other groups have been known to provide what's called emergency rent. The emergency rent helps the tenants get out of the current situation in order to take the proper legal action.

Once a tenant is catching up on their rent, then a notice of repair or remedy must be made by the tenant. After it is filled out the tenant must send a copy to to the landlord and another to the TTU. According to a TTU officials the landlord would have less than 7 days to make the repairs.

There are multiple other options for tenants to exercise. If you or another would like to contact the TTU for help with your living situation  you can check out the website, number and links below.

TTU Phone Number (214) 823-2733

Important Statutes in Renters Law

Jack Carney, Newschannel6