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Mount Vernon tenants without heat for 10 days

Posted at 4:40 PM, Jan 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-21 17:11:35-05

BALTIMORE — Baltimore City Department of Housing is investigating following complaints that tenants living at 15 W. Madison have been without heat for 10 days.

"I love this apartment but I can’t live here when it’s the middle of winter and there’s no heat," said tenant Samantha Miller.

Miller has lived in her one-bedroom apartment since October. She said the heat went out around January 10th.

"Management has been communicating with us," she said. "They send us email updates but the estimates for when things are going to be done seems to be constantly getting pushed back."

WMAR-2 News obtained an email dated January 13th.

The email stated:

"Good afternoon 15 W Madison Residents,

We just heard from the owner that he has contracted to make a major repair to the boiler requiring some major and not off-the-shelf parts. The repair is scheduled to be completed one week from today.

While this is longer than any of us would like, we must give the disclaimer that if anything very unusual occurs in the meantime such as a major winter storm or other issue (without getting political etc.) there may be a delay due to impact on shipping etc. If that occurs, we will be in touch to update expectations.

This repair was faster than a boiler replacement which was approximately 10-14 days with a 2-day install process.

If any of you are in need of additional space heaters please let us know. We will get them to you but keep in mind that the electrical system is not built to handle that extra load and that may cause burnt fuses which may leave you without power until we can replace the fuses for you.

We understand completely that you are not nearly as comfortable as you would like to be. For safety, please refrain from running your oven with the door open as this can lead to unsafe levels of carbon monoxide. As a slight improvement it would be feasible to heat up a cast iron pan/Dutch oven etc. to a very high heat and then let it sit on the stove top to add some safe warmth to your home. This process can be repeated as often as you like. Heating dense cast iron is in fact exactly how this building's radiator system works to maintain relatively stable temperatures without running non-stop.

If you have other suggestions for anything, we might do to increase your physical comfort until the repairs are made, please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate with the resources we have at our disposal."

WMAR-2 News visited Miller's apartment as she was packing bags to stay at her boyfriend place in Canton.

"I've told management my place is uninhabitable," she said. "It just can’t be the case that you don’t have heat in your home for almost 2 weeks in the middle of winter and in the middle of a pandemic. There just has to be a better answer than wait and eventually you’ll get heat."

As for the heating of cast iron skillet she said, "I don't even own one."

WMAR reached out to the Bmore Management, the property management company overseeing building.

In a statement property manager Brett Lambert said in part, "We've stayed in contact with all residents at least every 2-3 days since the start of the situation with updates and to offer assistance where we can. Our team has been assisting individual residents with whatever we can to make them more comfortable. We will continue those efforts until they are no longer needed. The owner for his part has been communicating with us regularly and without delay to keep us updated and made this his top priority when he was informed of the heat outage."

Lambert went on to say the heat should be restored in 2 days.

Miller said, she'll believe it when she feels the heat. In the meantime, she would like tenants to be compensated for the inconvenience.

For more on tenant rights visit https://dhcd.baltimorecity.gov/ce/owner-tenant-responsibilities

For more on information on receiving rent credit information visit https://www.publicjustice.org/en/