People frustrated after days with no A/C at west Charlotte apartment complex amid heat wave

CHARLOTTE — After four days without air-conditioning during a heat wave, people in west Charlotte pleaded for their complex to step up and fix it.

Channel 9′s Anthony Kustura spoke to a tenant Thursday who said her air-conditioning had been out since Monday. He said from the moment she steps into her apartment, she could feel the heat.

Even with the front door open, windows cracked and fans running, it was still much warmer inside than outside.

“It’s cooler in the hallway than it is in my apartment,” she said. “It’s very uncomfortable living without air.”

Dozens of other senior residents at the Retreat at Renaissance said they filed work orders to get the air-conditioning back on. But days later, they still had had no luck and wanted answers.

“When do we get the relief? When do we get this issue resolved with us seniors living like this and it’s not fair to us. We’re old folks,” a resident told Kustura.

The woman said her air-conditioning also went out in 2021 and she was frustrated that it happened again, this time to her neighbors.

“You just have to take care of your people,” she said.

Residents said they stocked up on cases of water while they waited it out. They just wanted to know for how much longer.

“I just want someone to come out and fix the air so we can live comfortably,” the woman said.

The management company said they hired a vendor to come fix the four units that don’t have air-conditioning and hope to have it fixed by the end of the day.

What are your rights in this situation?

Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke said North Carolina has strict rules about your landlord making sure you have heat in winter, but not air-conditioning in summer.

That said, landlords have to keep your home in “habitable condition.” They have to keep a number of things in working order, including the air-conditioning.

When it comes to the air-conditioning, you have to notify your landlord about the problem in writing (some issues can be verbal, but not air-conditioning).

Once you do, the landlord has to address it “promptly.” As you can see, that’s pretty gray.

Bottom line:

  • Don’t withhold rent out of protest.
  • If you spend money to fix the air-conditioning yourself or go to a hotel to cool off, save your receipts, but know this: legally, the landlord doesn’t have to pay you back.
  • If you think the landlord dragged their feet, you may want to sue in small claims court.

Full statement from the apartment’s management company:

“We are aware of the issues and have contacted vendors to come and fix the units that are down. With heat being so bad local vendors are stretched and are working hard to get all the outages resolved. Your question why some units was working and some not? We can’t predict when a unit will fail. We perform preventative maintenance throughout the year but when a part on a unit expires, we must respond to those breakdowns as they come about. Unfortunately, when they happen in the heat of the summer it may present challenges getting vendors because they are stretched to compacity to get them resolved. Our goal is to have all the units addressed by the end of the day but again we are at the mercy the vendors.

“We also have our local service team working on some of these issues as well. Please know we are addressing all of them with the utmost urgency and care. As of this moment we have total of 4 units without air conditioning and again we are working to get them addressed by the end of the day.”

(WATCH BELOW: Warning signs of heat-related illness)