You signed up for base housing because you thought it would make your life easier. You were promised a convenient, affordable, no-maintenance home for your family—what could be better? The reality, however, has been far different. If you have had problems getting Lincoln Military Housing (LMH) or another private contractor to fix hazardous conditions in your house on Camp Pendleton, the San Diego Naval Base, or elsewhere, you may need to take legal action.
What Your Landlord Should Do
When you signed the lease for your house on base, you agreed to certain terms, but the housing company also agreed to terms—among them, general maintenance and repairs. Like any housing lease, the owner of the property is responsible for appliance repair, pest control, landscaping, cosmetic upkeep, and more. If you are like many servicemembers across the country, you live in one of Lincoln Military Housing’s 36,000 on-base homes. This private contractor promises 24/7 maintenance service. Here’s what they say you should do to get help:
- For regular service, fill out a request form on their website.
- For emergency service, call the 24-hour help desk.
- If you are unhappy with the service you receive, LMH instructs you to call your district office and speak to the community representative.
- If the problem persists, you are instructed to speak to the district manager and, after that, to the Regional Property Manager for your community.
Sound like a big runaround? That’s because it is.
The Problem Is Bigger Than a Leaky Faucet
The sad truth is that servicemembers in privatized housing on bases across the country are reporting deplorable conditions in their homes that are not being fixed by LMH or other private contractors. On Camp Pendleton alone, residents have complained of rodent infestations and black mold that are making them and their children sick. I am currently representing a family who had so many mice in their home, they found mouse droppings in their baby’s crib and evidence of mice in their food pantry. When they complained, LMH set traps, but the problem got worse, forcing them to move out of the house. Instead of helping, LMH blamed them for the infestation.
What Can You Do About it?
In many ways, as a servicemember in privatized housing, you are trapped. You can move out, but at your own expense and you may be billed for damages you didn’t even cause. Base legal won’t be able to do anything to help you because the military has contracts with these companies. What’s your next move? First, document everything—take pictures and videos of the problem and keep records of every call you make to maintenance. Get a receipt for every visit made to your home and write down what was done. Next, call a private sector attorney. As a Marine myself, I understand the sacrifices you are making and I am committed to protecting your rights. You may have legal options when you are fighting a military housing contractor over hazardous conditions. Contact me online or call my office directly at 855.982.2400 to see how I can help.