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Posted: 4:35 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, 2012
By Allison Latos
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
Charlotte code inspectors are seeing a spike in a dangerous condition inside local homes: No heat. Eyewitness News found how city officials are taking action against landlords to keep people safe. Eyewitness News meteorologist Katie Virtue forecast below-freezing temperatures for Friday. "At 2 a.m., temperatures in Charlotte hit 28 degrees, making it the coldest morning so far this month," she said. Some families like Crystal Kenney's couldn't escape the cold. Her rental home had no heat. "We wore sweat shirts and blankets. We even left the oven open on some occasions to get a little heat in there," she said. Charlotte code enforcement manager Ben Krise said during the months of November through March, no heat is a serious housing code violation. "It's not safe for folks," Krise said. "The temperature in a home could drop to dangerous levels." "My son he has asthma and it's hard to hear him coughing and not be able to do anything about it or keep him any warmer," said Kenney. According to Kenney, code inspectors found several problems at the home she was renting. She said the property owner can't rent it out again until those issues are fixed "If dangerous violations exist, we make every effort to contact the property owner and give them 48 hours to make those corrections," Krise said. If they don't within that time, Krise told Eyewitness News the city refers families to a local nonprofit called Community Link for emergency housing help. "I would be on the streets," Krise said. "I would be homeless." Kenney is now at an extended stay hotel with her four kids while she looks for a new home. According to code enforcement officials, if conditions are bad enough and can't be fixed, property owners could face fines, be taken to court or be forced to demolish the property. Eyewitness News attempted to contact the property owner who rented the home to Kenney, but his phone number has been changed.
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