Gas leaks, rodents, asbestos: 10 military families in Texas sued their landlord over unsafe living conditions in base housing

Vacant homes dot the landscape in the Medina Annex at the Lackland Air Force base in San Antonio, where some families say they still wait for repairs.
Vacant homes dot the landscape in the Medina Annex at the Lackland Air Force base in San Antonio, where some families say they still wait for repairs. Reuters/Callaghan O’Hare
  • Attorneys for the military families said the living conditions were “contaminated and appalling.”
  • One family alleged their housing conditions led to a member of the household developing a lung mass.
  • Several families alleged they had to dispose of their property due to mold and asbestos exposure.

Air Force and Army families stationed at three military bases in Texas – Fort Bliss, Lackland Air Force Base, and Sheppard Air Force Base – are suing their privatized housing landlord over alleged “contaminated and appalling” living conditions, including insect and rodent infestations, toxic mold, asbestos, and lead-based paint, the Military Times reported.

Attorneys representing the families filed a complaint on June 8 against their landlord, Balfour Beatty Communities LLC, and its associated companies. The complaint alleged that Balfour Beatty “concealed harmful housing conditions” before the families signed their lease and performed inadequate repairs to “cover up the extent of the dilapidation” when complaints were made.

Several families named in the lawsuit said the alleged unsafe living conditions negatively affected their health.

The Clarkes, a family stationed at Fort Bliss, alleged that the contamination of their home led them to experience repeated respiratory and pneumonia infections and strep throat. They said one member of their family developed a mass in her lung and began receiving regular iron and immunoglobulin infusions.

Another family, the Roellchens, were stationed at Lackland Air Force Base, where they said their kitchen had a severe cockroach infestation and black mold. Roxanne Roellchen told Reuters she noticed a cockroach crawling on a feeding tube that belongs to her son who has special needs.

Many families also claimed they lost some or all of their personal property that was damaged or unusable due to problems within the home, such as asbestos, toxic mold, and water damage. The complaint does not specify the amount of damages that the families are seeking.

“Mold pervades and grows in the houses. The moisture content of walls contributes to the ever-present moldy conditions, and without repair will only continue to get worse. HVAC systems leak as well and flood the houses. Rodents and insects pervade the walls and, in many cases, the living spaces,” the complaint said.

Insider has reached out to Balfour Beatty for comment.