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Renters across D-FW still without water, essential services; real estate lawyer shares advice

Dallas real estate lawyer Rachel Khirallah recommends that renters email their landlord with specific issues and keep the records.

DALLAS — From blankets and pillows covering windows during the coldest of the storm, to collecting swimming pool water to flush toilets, renters across D-FW are still dealing with the fallout of the historic Texas winter storm.

“When I woke up, it was already freezing inside my apartment,” said Maddie Juarez, a renter in Arlington. 

As of Wednesday morning, she was still waiting for the water to be turned back on.

“She can’t brush her teeth. She can’t use the restroom. She can’t shower. She can’t drink water. She cannot live there,” said Melisa Juarez, Maddie’s mother.

Dallas real estate lawyer Rachel Khirallah said there are steps you as a renter can take to make sure you’re protected if you have storm damage or are still without essential services.  

“Unfortunately, these are very uncharted times we are in unfamiliar territory right now,” said Khirallah.  

She recommends that renters email their landlord with specific issues and keep the records. Try asking your management company if you can move to another unit or complex. And finally, try calling your renters insurance provider directly – they may be able to assist.

“Typically, seven days is what the law states is a reasonable amount of time to fix things – we are dealing with shortages of contractors all over the state right now – so I suspect the courts are going to be a little more lenient about the amount of time that it’s taking landlords to fix it,” she continued.

As for Juarez's situation – her management company, Bridge Property Management told WFAA they expect water to to be “restored this afternoon.” Though in an email to resident’s management, the company said their goal today is to restore “at least cold water” to some of the buildings.

“There’s many people over there that don’t have anywhere else to go. She was lucky that she could come live with me,” said Melisa Juarez.

And with repairs still underway across the state – the reality is that tenants across the state may simple have to hold on a little while longer.