Tenant frustrated Harris County apartment complex shut off water to prevent pipes from bursting

Jessica Willey Image
Friday, December 23, 2022
Tenant says apartment complex shut off water with little warning
A tenant says he's frustrated after his apartment complex intentionally shut off their water with little warning and won't turn it back on until temperatures reach 32 degrees.

CYPRESS, Texas (KTRK) -- As southeast Texans are dealing with the freezing temperatures, tenants at a Harris County apartment complex were told they would be without running water.

In an email to residents Thursday afternoon, management staff at Regency Park Apartment wrote, "in anticipation of the inclement weather, we are shutting down the water to the property to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting."

The email was sent at 3 p.m. and said water would be shut off starting at 5 p.m. until temperatures outside reached 32 degrees again.

David Peavy, a tenant, was not happy.

"That's Saturday," Peavy said in an exasperated tone. "I understand a day of inconvenience, a couple hours, but an open letter that it's going to be shut off until it's 32 degrees? That's unacceptable."

He said all week, management had been telling residents to drip faucets and keep cabinet doors open. The change came as a big surprise.

"It's ridiculous," Peavy said.

Texas law says a landlord can shut off a utility in an emergency. Nothing has happened yet so Peavy questions whether there is an emergency.

A call to the emergency hotline was not returned. Apartment management did not respond to ABC13's after-hours request for comment until Friday.

The statement from Regency Park Management Team read, "Yesterday evening water was temporarily shut off due to unforeseen challenges with freezing temperatures and a newly installed boiler. Those issues were quickly resolved, and the water turned back on today. We apologize to our valued community members if they were inconvenienced during this short time of repair."

"The Texas Apartment Association lease suggests shutting off water (preemptively) is permissible, but I don't think most landlords are doing that. I would not recommend a landlord do that," Brian Cweren, an attorney who specializes in Texas property and tenant law, said.

Cweren advises renters to know what's in their leases.

In the meantime, Peavy said he and his wife will manage. They have a bathtub full of water and bottled water.

"Why should I have to do that? There's a faucet right there. We should have running water," he said.

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