Wichita tenants dealing with broken air conditioning units during heat spell
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - A Wichita woman asked KAKE News for help after she says her apartment complex hasn’t fixed her air conditioning unit after several maintenance requests.
Tracey Reed lives at the Water's Edge Apartments in Riverside. She said maintenance has come to work on her AC a few times, but days later, it just breaks again.
“They just put a band-aid on it and, you know…call it good, and then I'm back the next week doing the whole process again,” Reed said.
She’s installed a makeshift window unit using her patio door. Reed said the office did give her a portable unit to use, but it hardly helped.
“I even slept out on my balcony one night, because it was so brutally hot in my apartment,” she said. “There was no air, and it was so hot.”
Lawyers with Kansas Legal Services told KAKE News that if a landlord is providing air conditioning, it must also maintain it. Reed called the Metropolitan Area Building and Construction Department, or MABCD, for help as well.
“I shouldn't have to move to a different apartment, because that's gonna take time and money, and, you know, it's hot outside,” Reed said. “Who wants to move, you know, in the summertime?”
Across town, Agustin Silva was running into a similar problem. He said his air conditioning unit hasn’t been running for over two weeks.
“I’ve got two dogs,” Silva said. “So, they were sitting there, and it got…I woke up, and it was like 92 in there, and I was like, ‘No, I ain't doing this.’”
A maintenance worker installed a window unit at Silva’s apartment in the meantime. However, Silva said he’s worried about its toll on his electric bill.
“The tape's falling off and stuff, and there's a hole in there,” he said. “As soon as I turn it off, it gets hot cause it goes right out the window.”
KAKE News talked with Silva’s property manager after our interview on site. She had no comment but did confirm that Silva is on the list to get a new unit as soon as supplies become available.
Water’s Edge has not responded to a phone call, voicemail and email from KAKE News as of 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
“When we sign a lease, you know, we're signing it knowing that we have electricity or, excuse me, air conditioning, and then they, you know…it's not our fault,” Reed said. “We pay our bills. We pay our rent, but you know, there's nothing that we can do.”
Just like Reed did, tenants can call the MABCD in Wichita for an inspector to come out, evaluate the unit and speak with the property if necessary.
Tenants can also sue their landlord in Small Claims Court or file a 14/30 Notice. The document tells landlords that they have 14 days to make repairs, and if they don’t, the tenant’s lease will terminate 30 days from the next rent paying date.
You can reach the MABCD at 316-660-9220 and Kansas Legal Services at 1-800-723-6953.