Breaking News
More () »

What do you do when your rental has storm damage? | 11 Listens

The recent wild weather damaged more than just houses, apartment complexes have been torn up as well, but it can be difficult to get help if you're a renter.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The recent wild weather damaged more than just houses. 

Apartment complexes have been torn up as well, but it can be difficult to get help if you're a renter.

If you're a homeowner, one of your first calls after a storm is to your insurance company, but when you rent, calling your landlord might not be easy. With the way the laws are in Arkansas, sometimes the next call has to be to city hall and then a lawyer. 

Our 11 Listens team met one young mom who needed advice when last week's storms blew open a hole in the roof of her apartment.

RELATED: Are there bald eagles in Arkansas? | 11 Listens

“It's been getting worse and worse and worse. It's been pouring and pouring and pouring,” said Jessica Lopez standing near two full buckets of water dripping and streaming from a patch in her roof. 

“I walked in here because my kids were in here, and my little girl is babbling and pointing; you can see the water pouring. I immediately got them out of this room.”

The leak is another sign of the rough spring in Arkansas. Lopez says it all came flooding into her life over the weekend after torrential rains drenched southwest Little Rock. 

The patch in the ceiling is a remnant of an earlier repair on her third-floor unit. Problems started last October and Lopez says the repairs have been shoddy. 

Now that the leak is back, her property managers have been struggling to keep up while saying a roofer is on the way.

“All I've heard is that the roofer is coming at one,” Lopez said. “I just don't think this is safe for anybody. I just don't know. This just blows my mind.”

Property manager Lenoris Jackson said in a phone interview that the damage came in the most recent high-wind event and not from previous problems. 

They offered to let Lopez, her fiance, and her two small children a chance to stay in a furnished apartment in another property owned by her company. 

Lopez initially refused to make the move but changed her mind when roofers failed to show up as promised on Monday.

The problem of when timely repairs are made is something state and city leaders have tried to address.

“A lot of them are not adequate to raise healthy children with families and a lot of them don't provide healthy living conditions,” said Ken Richardson, the Little Rock director for Ward 2, which includes Lopez’s complex. 

“Unfortunately, those managers/owners, are more occupied with keeping those units filled and occupied then they are with the living conditions they're in now.”

Jackson said the roofing contractor would need “two to three” days to fix the problem and was “on his way” Monday afternoon, but had not arrived as of the early evening.

RELATED: Where does money from Arkansas's cigarette tax go? | 11 Listens

“We don't have very much,” said Lopez. “We're just starting out, so it's kind of hard to just get into places and pull money out of the air when you're just starting out.”

Code Enforcement agents recently completed a full inspection of the entire six-building complex Lopez lives in, with division manager Ed Garland saying he didn’t recall anything standing out as an immediate concern in a complex of that size. 

He promised to share the full report with a reporter at a later time.

Before You Leave, Check This Out