Dallas council passes tougher landlord maintenance rules

The Dallas City Council passed the toughest new landlord rules in the State of Texas on Wednesday.

Right now renters dealing with mold, bed bugs, and broken air conditioners have not been able to do much about it -- short of breaking a lease and moving. But come January, that will all change.

Dallas landlords will be required to clean up mold and bed bugs and will also have to maintain air conditioners to keep apartments from getting hotter than 85 degrees.

Tenant Patricia Vega took her fight to city hall for her kids’ health after calls to code enforcement did no good since there were no rules on such standards.

“I have four kids, I want to make sure they have a good life,” Vega said.

Vega and a neighbor showed FOX4 stains on their bathroom walls from leaks. They believe there is mold in their apartments. Even though Vega and her husband pay $750 a month in rent, she said her landlord wouldn't do anything about the conditions.

The group Dallas Area Interfaith worked for two years with council members Adam McGough and Scott Griggs to revamp the city's housing codes.

Dallas's new budget also calls for 15 new code enforcement officers to be hired to crack down on bad landlords. If landlords don't correct problems they'll face fines.

"Thank y'all for every time you've written an email, come here to city hall, contacted your neighbors, and gotten involved in this," McGough said.

In a rare moment of unity at city hall, both sides of the issue -- the Apartment Association of Greater Dallas and Dallas Area Interfaith -- stood in agreement on the new rules.

“We look forward to increased enforcement from the city,” said Kathy Carlton, Apartment Association of Greater Dallas.

Vega is now counting down the days until January when she hopes the city's new rules will mean a healthier home for her family.