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Tenants suffer 16 days without AC because management can’t get part

Posted at 8:12 PM, Jun 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-16 20:12:45-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- For 16 days, Keon Hill said he and his roommate have been without central air in their three-bedroom unit, with an eight-day stretch of temperatures in the 90s.

He can't escape the heat outside nor inside of his Ecoflats apartmen; on Tuesday the temperature registered at 89 degrees.

"It feels like you're in a sauna,” Hill said. "It's very irritating; it's very agonizing.”

He said they're keeping it cooled off with an AC window unit provided by management, and fans set up throughout the apartment.

Hill said they complained to management on a several occasions about the heat.

He said he was told “that they would be out they couldn't the part.”

CBS 6 reached out to management too.

"We've had an issue with the blown indoor motor,” said Bill Wolfe, Maintenance Manager at Ecoflats. “Fan motor on that unit that we've had a hard time getting a motor for.”

Wolfe said they re-ordered the part and negotiated with another contractor after the first contractor fell through.

Under Virginia law all tenants are required to have fit and livable conditions in their apartment, and the landlord is responsible for any repairs. This is regardless if the tenant has a lease or not.

"The lease is not enforceable,” said Martin Wegbreit, with the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, Inc. “The statute trumps the lease.”

Wegbreit said that tenants must be current on their rent before reporting any problem. He said to provide written notice of the issue to the landlord. And he cautioned that a tenant may have to wait a reasonable amount of time.

But he says in Hill’s case, having gone without AC for over two weeks: "If it can't get fixed in a matter or a day or two or three; the solution is to jump on it immediately and have somebody else lined up.”

Management told CBS 6 that they’ve been working with the tenants every step of the way. And said they would be willing to provide more AC units or move them, if they had another unit available.

They say the central air in Hill’s apartment should be fixed by tomorrow.