DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – People who live at an apartment complex in south Durham are pushing for city leaders to speed up the process of approving a “Tenants Bill of Rights,” as some have been forced to live in deplorable living conditions for years.

Kylee-Rhiannon Austin has lived at Triangle Place apartments off Cornwallis Road for three years. In her current unit, she said she has a recurring problem with a water leak and on Thursday her carpet was soaked with water from the leak.

“It feels really gross,” Austin said. “I can’t walk to the laundry room or the bathroom barefoot without wanting to throw up because it’s just stagnant, cold murky water pulling around my feet.”

Austin is concerned that she and her roommates could get sick from breathing in the moist carpet.

She also showed CBS 17 the black mold in her bathroom and the gnats and fruit flies that keep getting into her refrigerator and spoiling some of her food.

“We’re human, we should be living in humane conditions,” Austin said.

CBS 17 reached out to the city of Durham’s Neighborhood Improvement Services (NIS) department on Monday about Austin’s concerns, and they sent an inspector to her apartment on Wednesday.

CBS 17 learned on Thursday that an inspector found violations, which means the apartment complex has a certain amount of time to correct the issues or they will be fined.

But Austin said she would like to see city leaders take this a step further and create a “Tenants Bill of Rights.”

“It’s just going to get worse if they don’t start protecting their tenants,” Austin said.

In August 2021, the Durham City Council started having discussions about creating a “Tenants Bill of Rights,” that could require mandatory inspections, timely repairs, and keep landlords from being able to collect rent if there is a housing code violation.

But it has been months since there has been a public discussion of the “Tenants Bill of Rights.”

The Durham City Attorney’s office tells CBS 17 there is nothing new to report regarding the “Tenant’s Bill of Rights” and it is still with city council members who are considering it.

Durham City Councilmember Dedreana Freeman was the city council member who worked to get the “Tenants Bill of Rights” on the agenda. She was not available for an interview this week but said there have been no meetings about it outside of city council work sessions.

Meanwhile, Austin said that tenants in Durham need the city to act quickly to help make sure they are protected.

“I feel like we’re just being brushed off to the side by the complex, the city, and the state,” Austin said. “Nobody should have to live like this.”

Anyone in Durham who is a renter can call the city of Durham to have their home inspected. For more information, you can contact Durham One Call to request an inspection for minimum housing code violations.