SAN ANTONIO — Many San Antonians have reached out to KENS 5 regarding landlord issues and Deputy Director of Deputy Director of Development Services Amin Tohmaz said the city's Code Enforcement office is also seeing an increase in apartment-related issues.
The good news is Code Enforcement does inspect those issues and can get issues resolved for tenants. And while some Texas laws regarding tenant rights are specific issues affecting "health and safety," Code Enforcement can address a larger range of issues that tenants face.
Tohmaz said city codes "Include the exterior of the structure, the premises and interior of the structure including mechanical equipment."
Tohmaz told KENS 5 tenants call Code Enforcement at 311 for issues with:
- Air Conditioning
- Water boiler issues
- Electrical wiring
- Doors and windows
- Problems with floors or tile
- Holes in walls
- Bug infestations
- Plumbing issues
- Exterior walls
"Any mechanical equipment you have needs to operate on the manufacturers recommendations or listing on the device. So, if it's listed for heating water, it has to do that and operate appropriately," Tohmaz said.
The individual making the call must be able to identify the apartment complex and apartment unit. If the issue is inside the apartment, the individual must be able to show a code enforcement office the issue firsthand.
"We have to physically see the violation. So that's step one," Tohmaz said.
Once the violation is documented, Code Enforcement issues a 10-day notice to the property owner or the operator or management company and explain the problem to that individual.
After those ten days are up, Code Enforcement re-inspects the property and may issue a citation if the problem is not addressed.
Code Enforcement can then take the property owner or operator to court. If the judge sides with the city, that owner could be fined between $300 to $1000.
Tohmaz said Code Enforcement doesn't want to take people to court and most property owners will address property issues. He said the department will take action to protect local tenants.
"There are a few (owners) here and there that are not doing the right thing and we want to get them into safety compliance," Tohmaz said. "We are here to help everyone and make sure they live in a safe environment."