Tenants say hot water isn't all the way back

EATON RAPIDS, Mich. (WSYM) - It was a different kind of heating assistance in play at the Edgewater Apartments in Eaton Rapids.

Some tenants went more than a month without heat before FOX 47 News started investigating.

Friday the heat is working, but some tenants tell us the water is only lukewarm at best. Tenants said it's at least bearable to bathe themselves and children. FOX 47's Alani Letang spoke with Eaton Rapids Mayor Paul Malewski who told us what's going to happen next.

Mayor Malewski told Letang the complex is installing a new water heater next week. The city will not be citing the owner with a violation. He said they were able to resolve the situation more quickly by working with "Harvest Properties" rather than threatening the company with a fine.

Tenants told us they feel ignored by owners. "In the very least just some recognition that we exist, other than wanting money from us we've got nothing from them, and I don't think that's right after everything we've been through," said Brian Ribby, a tenant.

Ribby said it's time for the tables to turn and said he feels owners owe their tenants some money. He told us "a lot of us what we want, is we want our last month rent back, we paid rent on a cold apartment with cold water and that wasn't part of our lease agreement"

Ribby said they also want some compensation for their electric bills after running space heaters for weeks. He also wants to be able to break his lease without penalty

"After going through all these, we don't want to be here, we don't want to have to pay the $500 penalty, sacrifice our security deposit, and then be responsible to pay rent for the duration of our lease for all this we don't want that," he said.

However, he does appreciate the fact that the heat is working now. He and others have told us that without FOX 47 News and the mayor's connections, they might still be living in a frigid apartment. "I have severe doubts that anything would've gotten fixed had the media or the city not got involved," said Ribby.

One tenant's son who visits frequently said: "all the residents here at 223 North Main St. Edgewater Apartments would like to thank FOX 47 News for helping us and everything you've done, and hopefully they get this building straightened out, thank you."

Mayor Malewski says if this happens again he would like tenants to notify the city immediately if management doesn't fix the problem within a day or so.