Renters wait anxiously for apartment heat to turn on

8:41 AM, Jan 21, 2013   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - In a Minnesota winter, getting out of the cold is your best defense. But when the inside temperature is almost as cold as the outside temperature, there's not much you can do.

That was the case for a number of tenants at an eight-unit apartment building on the 2100 block of 3rd Avenue South this weekend.

"Each room has one of them but they don't work," said Daniel Madrigal, who pointed to his radiator.

When KARE 11 stopped by Sunday afternoon, none of the radiators inside Madrigal's apartment worked. That's why he, his mom and brother are relying on space heaters to keep their apartment warm.

"When we leave and turn them off and we come back, it's cold," he said.

So cold you have to wear a jacket sometimes, he said.

James Glasgow has lived here for several years and he said he has noticed a problem with the heat for the past year.

"It's cold, it gets cold," he said.

The problem got the attention of Minneapolis City Council member Gary Schiff. He calls the situation unacceptable.

"The repair people have been out here three times in the last 24 hours fixing this boiler," he said.

"The landlord was out fixing it twice before midnight and then again today. At some point we have to ask, 'Why are these repairs allowed, instead of a replacement of the boiler system?'"

A tenant notified Schiff who stopped by Sunday afternoon. The problem appeared to be fixed after he notified the fire department who then notified the property manager. But early Sunday evening, tenants told KARE 11 the heat was, once again, not working.

Tenants said the building is managed by Enterprise Consulting and Development Inc. No one returned repeated phone messages Sunday. And no one was at the listed address for the company in Minneapolis, either.

According to city records, the building is owned by Kirby Ventures LLC. KARE 11 tried to track the owner down but was unsuccessful.

Minneapolis Fire Marshall Perry Ebner said because of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday, the city inspector would not be able to inspect the building until Tuesday. Until then, Perry said the city has offered the tenants shelter if they need it.

Perry said his office was there Sunday and will be back Tuesday morning to make sure the problem is fixed.  If it's not, the city can and most likely will fine the owner.

Schiff said the city can also force the owner to fix the problem.

Meantime, Daniel Madrigal and his family have given up reporting the issue, relying on their own solution to heat their home.

"That's why we stopped, because they already came like three times and it doesn't work," he said.

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