Jose Pérez and his family were afraid of their stove.
It caught on fire when they tried to cook, so the family bought prepared food. They had other problems in their apartment, too: The air conditioning went out for a week one August, there was no hot water for a month, and mold grew in the walls. But the stove is what made Mariana Pérez scream one day, when she saw her husband get electrocuted by some faulty wiring.
“I was literally glued [to the stove] for about three seconds,” Jose Pérez said in Spanish. “I could not get myself off the stove.”
The Pérezes have lived in the one-bedroom apartment in North Austin with their two kids for six years, three of which were spent with a busted stove. The 200-unit complex, called Creeks Edge, is on a city list of rental properties with a history of poor maintenance. Landlords of properties on this list, known as the Repeat Offender Program, are subject to mandatory inspections.