Military families living with mice and mold call for action, new bill could help them

Posted at 6:19 PM, Mar 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-08 21:19:49-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A new bill introduced by four senators, including Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, would protect military families from private management companies.

Military families have dealt with mice and mold in their homes on base and designated by the military.

One Navy mom, Erika Bradley, said they moved to MCAS Miramar in June of 2018 and have had issues since they were handed the keys. She said they had to clean the house before allowing their three kids to live there.

Bradley said military kids have a lot on their plate already, "constantly asked to be the new kid at school, be uprooted and have a lot of instability." She said the last thing they should worry about is a safe home.

She said one Saturday she and her husband were sitting on the couch when he saw a large mouse, "it was a pretty good size, on the counter where we prepare our children's food." Bradley said she had to 'make a fuss' to get anything done. She wants to ensure this doesn't happen to anyone in the broader military family.

These issues were documented in a November 2018 Reuters report, detailing substandard and even dangerous living conditions at Lincoln Military Housing's privately owned complexes, including mold spores, water leaks and infestations of rodents and insects.

The new bill would implement standards that could prevent this from happening.

The provisions included are listed as:

Basic allowance for housing: The installation commander shall withhold payment of a service member’s housing allowance until a military housing official has inspected an environmental, safety or health hazard, verified that appropriate remediation has taken place, and the service member concurs that the remediation is satisfactory. In the case that the hazard requires the service member to leave the housing unit, the housing company will pay all relocation costs.

Housing costs: Prohibits payment of a deposit, and any fee or penalty related to ending a lease early, except for normal wear and tear. The bill also requires contractors to reimburse service members for damage to their private property caused by a hazard.

Withholding incentive fees: Requires the Secretary of Defense to withhold incentive fees to any contractor who persistently fails to remedy hazards.

Common credentials: Creates standard credentials for health, safety and environmental inspectors across services, and including contractors, to ensure consistent inspection practices.

Additional transparency for service members: Requires the Defense Department to establish an electronic system so that service members can track and oversee their work orders.

Lincoln Military Housing runs most of Camp Pendleton's 7,900 housing units.

10News reached out to Lincoln and have not recieved a reply.