By Helen Milne
The tenants of Villas de Padeo, with the support of the Houston Tenants Union, have initiated a rent strike after going nearly a month without running water. During the crisis of capitalist mismanagement of the winter storm in February, the tenants went without electricity for six days and have not had water after many of the pipes in the complex burst and flooded over half the units.
The complex is managed by Comuna Property Management, which regularly fails to respond to tenants’ requests for repairs, leaving many waiting for months for their maintenance requests to be fulfilled. When these requests are addressed, they are not handled by licensed professionals, resulting in subpar and dangerous living conditions. Tenants are charged for amenities such as remote controls for a broken gate and a dirty pool that has not been cleaned in over a year.
After the tenants lost water following the capitalist-caused disaster, it took more than a week for management to act. For the first week, management suggested that tenants use water from the filthy pool to bathe and flush toilets.
“Eventually they got us some bottled water,” one tenant told Tribune, “but I don’t believe that was really them. I think the city brought it and they was just trying to take credit.”
The rent strike has the overwhelming support of tenants. The demands include not only rent prorated to not include the time spent without water but also repairs for the poor conditions the complex was in prior to the storm.
“They said they’ll give us back money for March, but what about February?” another tenant told Tribune. “The storm happened almost a month ago and besides there’s been problems here storm or no storm.”
Tenants have already started to win concessions as the managers have agreed to the prorated rent, and plan to maintain the rent strike until all demands are met.
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