Ceiling collapse becomes huge headache for southwest Houston family: 'There's no home to come to'

Courtney Carpenter Image
Wednesday, May 17, 2023
Tenant trying to get answers after apartment ceiling collapses
A family's frustration is growing at their apartment complex's lack of help after her living room ceiling caved in.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- La'Charia Luchin lives at Star Villa Ana apartments in southwest Houston and says there have been ongoing issues with mold in their bathroom and a broken oven. Then, last Thursday, the ceiling in her living room caved in, leaving behind a huge mess.

Thankfully, her boyfriend and young daughter, who were home at the time, weren't hurt.

"When he went down to lay her down, it came down, so he covered," she explained.

She says crews came out the next day to start repairs and called to ask if she could move her furniture, but she was already at work for the day.

"I told them I wouldn't be able to move it and where was I going to move it to? I came back Saturday morning so that he could get work clothes. My furniture is outside and all over my rooms," Luchin said.

Her furniture was left outside and is ruined after getting rained on. What's not outside was thrown into the other rooms, and for the past five days, they've been spending out of pocket for hotels and staying with family.

"My kids are ready to come back home. There's no home to come to," Luchin said.

ABC13 asked an attorney on Tuesday if the complex is responsible for helping them out with a place to stay or moving them into another unit until theirs is fixed, and the answer is no. By law, the complex doesn't have to.

This attorney also says, unless the landlord admits it, without going to court, it is really tough to prove something like this is the landlord's fault, and in court, it would be the tenant's burden to prove.

"I've been contacting the corporate office about this situation, but no response. So it's like, at this point, what do you do?" Luchin asked.

We ran into the same issue. When we were at the complex on Tuesday, management said we had to leave and declined to talk with us about this either.

Star Villa Ana is owned by Krishna Management. ABC13 reached out to them and has not heard back. A woman who answered the phone belonging to the owner of the company told us they also are not interested in speaking with us.

If your apartment is ever really damaged and especially if repairs may take a long time, the attorney we spoke with says to look at your lease. Most leases say there's an option for both the landlord and renter to terminate the lease when the apartment is severely damaged.

A lease termination should be handed over in writing to your landlord.

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