With three asthmatic children in the family, Patricia Vega (in photo above holding toddler in pink) was constantly on the lookout for mold. "Every time we move, we think it gets better, but it does not." After learning that the Dallas housing code offered no protections, she, with a group of women from San Juan Diego Catholic Church, enlisted the support of Dallas Area Interfaith (DAI) to change the law.
During over a year of public action, DAI church leaders confronted landlords, secured the support of allies, negotiated with adversaries, and ultimately changed the housing code in a fundamental way. Says Heather Way, a professor at University of Texas School of Law who specializes in affordable housing law, “These reforms are much needed and should have a big impact on protecting the health and safety of Dallas’s most vulnerable.” FOX News calls the code the "toughest landlord rules in the state." Said former code enforcement prosecutor, Councilmember Adam McGough, "this is unprecedented."
New protections include:
- required mold and bedbug cleanup by landlords
- eradication of insects from apartment pools
- required translation of rental agreements into Spanish and Vietnamese
- single-family rental inspections and registration
- 15 new inspectors just for single family rentals
- working AC with minimum required temperatures
Councilmember McGough said the new rules included "the strongest AC regulation in the state."
A turning point was reached one month ago, when DAI leaders met with representatives of the Apartment Association of Greater Dallas (AAGD) to negotiate points of disagreement. At the end of the day, AAGD stood with DAI in support of the new code, arguing that "poorly operated properties and slumlords bring down...the entire industry."
Said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings: "This is how you pass legislation."
Dallas Makes Rules Tougher on Landlords with New Housing Standards, Dallas Morning News
Tougher Dallas Housing Code to Help Fight Slumlords,NBC-DFW
Dallas Council Passes Tougher Landlord Maintenance Rules, FOX 4 News