INKSTER, Mich. (WJBK) - Families at one Inkster apartment complex say they're living without heat as the cold weather moves in for the season and their landlord has no problems collecting their rent - but can't seem to figure out how to make the repairs.
Andrew Wells is among the hundreds of people living at Beplace Cherry Hill Club Apartments. She said they don't have a choice but to live without heat - while still paying rent.
"We have no heat -and they're collecting security deposits and renting out the place like they got heat," Wells said. "They just passed out heaters - maybe two or three days ago - they weren't concerned about that until they thought that the city was going to come out and shut them down."
Other residents say they've been using the space heaters daily, which management gave out to residents. They posted a notice to pick them up in the office and put a phone number up for questions.
When the FOX 2 Problem Solvers tried to help, there was nobody at the door and the phone number provided as rejected as not being valid. There's also a sign at the apartment saying the heat is being worked on but residents say that sign has been there for weeks.
"This sign has been up the whole month. I think it got cold in late October? Yeah - they're just handing out space heaters and that's all we're getting right now," Marketa McKelvy said.
FOX 2 went to City Hall, who referred us to the Inkster Police for code enforcement. They said the boiler has been broken since the middle of September
"We're speaking to the city attorney - we want to put something [out] right now, that we want to get them to fix that asap," police chief William Riley said.
Police are issuing misdemeanor citations to the apartment complex owners, punishable by jail time or fines, because of the lack of heat. On another note - they're concerned all those space heaters could pose a fire hazard.
"We do not want this to last long and have something bad happen," Riley said.
FOX 2 spoke with an attorney for the apartment complex. When we went back to the apartment complex, the owner and assistant assured us they'll be releasing a statement. They did, and claim that the problem with the heat has been diagnosed and they're working to fix it as soon as possible.
Read the entire statement below:
Beplace is the property manager for the Cherry Hill Club apartment complex in Inkster, Michigan, a community of twelve (12) buildings. Since taking over at Cherry Hill Club last year it has been Beplace's one goal to make Cherry Hill Club fit our motto, which is: 'better apartment living'. While there have been setbacks, it has been our intention to tackle each one and exceed the expectations of all our residents.
It was recently discovered that there were issues with the heat in some of the buildings. The heating issue started when we turned the heat on this season and we discovered that the boilers shut off automatically when we attempted to turn them on. The apartment units are heated by a hot water system with the boilers centrally located in the clubhouse building on the property. We hired a licensed HVAC professional to come out and resolve this issue. Once things were up and running, the pressure from the water revealed some leaks in the pipes. A national leak detection company was hired to find the source of the issue. They've determined that there are leaks in the hot water lines at multiple points which are preventing hot water from reaching all of the buildings and thereby not providing heat in the way the system was designed to function. As they continue to search and find leaks, those leaks must be fixed first in order to detect other leaks.
The national leak detection company found a major leak late yesterday on Monday, November 13, 2017. Today, on November 14, 2017, Beplace contacted several contractors to assess fixes for that major leak by excavating the area around it, which work is due to start ASAP. Each building will be expected to have heat restored as we tackle this major leak and any subsequent leaks that are found. Some of the leaks have already been solved with expediency. We now have several buildings with heat and we are thankful for the progress of our contractors and the patience of our residents, but we are aware that several other buildings still don't have heat. Beplace and its contractors will continue to work diligently to locate and repair the leaks in the hot water lines until the heat in all buildings is restored and is fully functional and operational in the quickest timeframe possible.
In coordination with the City of Inkster, Beplace has purchased one hundred twenty (120) space heaters and has been informing residents that these space heaters are available for pick-up at the clubhouse or has attempted to deliver space heaters to residents so that the temperature in the units can be maintained according to minimum temperatures as specified by the City of Inkster. Beplace has started placing space heaters in apartments since some residents have still not picked up their space heaters and has also assured residents that it will provide a credit for the electricity used for those space heaters.
Beplace sincerely apologizes for the inconvenience to the residents and wishes to make it very clear to the residents that there are space heaters available, and the cost of the electricity for those space heaters will be credited against the rent.
On a separate matter, Beplace acknowledges that the community had recently suffered the loss of one of its buildings, which was destroyed in a fire in March of this year. Due to the type of insurance held by the resident, the claim is still pending and we are unable to demolish the building at this time but we have been informed that we will be able to commence such work soon