For people who use wheelchairs, a lot goes into finding a new place to live. Often modifications have to be made, so their new apartment or house is accessible.
One renter reached out to reporters explaining he had a wheelchair ramp built when he moved into his apartment and says contractors hired by the landlord messed it up.
“It’s costly to move when you’re in a chair,” Jason Sims explained.
For four years, Sims has lived at the City Crossing Apartments in northeast Houston. For the majority of that time, he says the ramp going into his apartment has given him trouble.
“For one, I am now on ramp number five. I paid for the first one, and they’ve redone every one since, but it hasn’t been done right,” Sims explained.
When a person who uses a wheelchair moves into an apartment or rental home, they are typically responsible for paying for any modifications that need to be made, like widening doorways and adding grab bars and ramps.
Sims says he paid for the first ramp to be built but said that in the process of trying to fix foundation issues, contractors hired by the complex damaged the ramp to the point where it had to be redone.
The problem is, after multiple so-called fixes, Sims says the ramp is way too steep, making it dangerous and difficult for him to use.
“I have to pull up on the rails to get up because there’s no way. It’s already at a slight incline,” Sims said.
We explained the situation to attorney Brian Cweren.
“Once you have a modification installed and something happens where it’s damaged, wherein this fact pattern it’s alleged the landlord’s contractor damaged the modification, then I would think it’s the responsibility of that contractor to go back and put it the way it was,” explained Cweren.
Sims says complex management changed often, and after multiple calls, emails, and conversations over years of living there, the ramp wasn’t fixed.
“People need to realize that it’s not always right and fair the way we’re treated with disabilities when it comes to moving into places,” Sims said.
Reporters reached out to the management company on Sims’ behalf. The public relations firm for the management company said the company took over recently and was not aware of the problem. They say they are committed to making it right.
After investigators got involved, Sims said he met with the complex manager about what has been going on and had a conversation about finding a solution.