Weslaco Veteran Requests Help with Plumbing Issues

Posted: Updated: Jan 11, 2017 07:54 PM

WESLACO – The health department said a veteran is living in “unlivable” conditions. The Rio Grande Valley veteran said the two-week problem is raising some health concerns.

The problem goes beyond the sewage backup. The veteran said his electricity was cut off just this week without warning.

U.S. Navy Veteran Ramiro Lopez moved into the trailer home five months ago. The past two weeks were unbearable.

“With my toilet, it backs up. All the time when I use it,” he said.

Lopez noticed a sewage problem two weeks ago. He said his landlord tried to fix the problem but failed.

“If a certified plumber was to come over here, I’m pretty sure he can fix it in an hour or less than that. He knows what he’s doing,” he said.

Lopez said he won’t pay rent until the issue is resolved.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS reached out the city of Weslaco to see what people in a similar situation can do.

Health official Joe Pedraza said if a tenant experiences plumbing problems they should first make a few calls before contacting their landlord.

“If you are within a municipality within city limits of whatever city, pretty much you can contact your city. First of all make sure there’s no back up in the area. That could be part of the problem. If that’s not the case, then they need to contact the plumber to get their plumbing checked,” Pedraza said.

He said issues dealing with sewage can present a health hazard.

“It can cause bacteria issues, you can pick up E. Coli. It is a big health concern,” Pedraza said.

Tomas Perez, the landlord, said the repair needs to be made from the inside. Perez said Lopez is responsible for the repair since it’s not outdoors.

“That problem is from the tenant, not from the landlord, unless it’s very bad and they cannot do anything with it,” he said.

According to Weslaco City Code Enforcement, landlords are ultimately responsible for any repairs if they rent out a location.

The city of Weslaco said this isn’t the first time they’ve dealt with the landlord.

“We’ve had concerns there as far as the placement of RVs… or mobile homes. We’ve had issues there with electrical code violations and plumbing code violations,” Pedraza said.

He said his department will open an investigation into sewage, electrical and zoning violations in the area.

The city plumbing inspector and building official for the city of Weslaco were at the property. They said they’ll be looking into code violations deal with housing, building and electric.

The veteran said he was sharing electricity with the neighbor next door. He claimed the landlord found out and threatened the neighbor with eviction if that didn’t stop. 

Link: Tenant Rights

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