INDIANAPOLIS — An east side apartment complex is fixing broken air conditioning units following a Call 6 Investigates story about tenants who say they’re struggling to stay cool.
The management company for Emerson Place has identified eight broken air conditioning units throughout the property, and they’ve ordered eight new units.
“The new units are scheduled to arrive tomorrow, and installation is scheduled to begin promptly upon receipt,” emailed Valerie Jerome, a marketing technologist with Millenia Housing Management, the management company for Emerson Place.
Jerome said they have also purchased window units for tenants to use temporarily, and they are working to fix any broken a/c units as well.
Millenia Housing Management is working to restore service as quickly as possible, said Jerome.
Call 6 Investigates found the Marion County Public Health Department has issued 113 violation notices for no air conditioning since May 3, and 31 of those were emergency orders to fix the problem within 24 hours.
As Call 6 Investigates reported on Friday, Troy Holyfield lives at Emerson Place apartments and has been using a fan to stay cool despite a broken air conditioner.
"We are putting ice and cold rags on and trying to stay as cool as we can with the situation," Holyfield said. "It's like you've been in the Bahamas with no shade all day and all night."
The health department issued an emergency order to Emerson Place on July 2, which revealed broken air conditioning at the apartment complex.
Health officials ordered Emerson Place to repair or replace the air conditioning units by July 3, and if they don't, could face a fine of up to $2,500.
Holyfield was unaware of the health department order but said he had placed a call to the Mayor's Action Center.
The Marion County Public Health Department typically reserves emergency orders for when someone is elderly or has a severe medical need for air conditioning.
"That's going to depend on several factors, the age of the individuals, medical necessity, whether the windows would open or not if they've got screens," said Lara Morgan, a team leader with the Marion County Public Health Department. "So we would consider various factors."
In an emergency order, the landlord has 24 hours to fix the air conditioning, but with a regular order, they typically have 30 days to address the issue.
Morgan said not every situation is urgent.
"If a person that is in good health and doesn't have a medical need, then that's why it would not be considered an emergency," Morgan said. "If they can open windows and they have screens, then it's not an emergency."
Many renters want the problem fixed quickly, but Morgan said many landlords are trying to find someone to repair or replace the air conditioning unit.
"Air conditioning repairmen are busy," Morgan said. "We can't fix the problem. We can use code enforcement and try to encourage them to fix it through the legal process."
Violators can face a fine of up to $2,500 and legal proceedings if they fail to fix the problem, Morgan said.
They encourage anyone who isn't feeling well to call 911 or cool off at a mall, cooling center, shelter, or a place with air conditioning.