Heat causes problems in SJ apartment complex

September 21, 2009 6:35:17 PM PDT
A bunch of people in the South Bay are dealing with not just the heat, but the frustration of trying to get some relief from it. They blame the managers of their apartment building.

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The residents at Miranda Villa are accusing their landlord of shutting off the air conditioning during a heat wave. Doors that could let in cool air from the hallways have been ordered shut.

Everyone's in search of some cool air, but inside Miranda Villa, the 80 residents say it's like an oven.

The hallways are air conditioned, but not individual units. In the past, residents would crack open their doors to get some relief -- but not now.

"We were told that we had to keep those doors closed. We weren't allowed to keep them open, and if we continued to, we'd get written up with a violation," said Miranda Villa resident Mary Ryan.

The community room was often this complex's cooling room, a place to go for heat relief. However, the thermometer registers 81 degrees -- no relief at all.

"The community room basically the air conditioning worked all the time but I'd say within the past week and a half, two weeks, it's not working anymore," said resident Kathy Swift.

Miranda Villa is subsidized housing, operated by a California Real Estate Management Company. Their on-site property manager, Desiree Cabasug, initially told ABC7 there's nothing wrong with the air conditioning.

But these seniors think there's some penny-pinching going on. That bothers Judy Torres, who is on oxygen.

"I told Jennifer, above our manager. She goes, there's nothing we can do. We have to save money 'cause the PG&E's too high," she said.

We tried to reach Jennifer Smith at the management firm but we got her voice mail. Cabasug said she couldn't talk to us.

The residents are all seniors with various health issues and a strong sense of independence. This is not a managed care facility.

"This rudeness that you have to keep the door shut. You cannot open the door, not even a little bit, just keep the door and they are going around and around checking," said tenant Pia Segovia.

"There has to be a way to have those doors open, at least a little bit so some cold air can get it. We're dying in here," said Torres.

Because the management company didn't return our call, we can't confirm whether the air conditioning is broken or if they have simply shut it off.

ABC7 also contacted the Santa Clara County Housing Authority and said it has not received any complaints. On top of that, they said this is a privately owned and managed company and that they don't get to intervene. They also added that subsidized housing in San Jose does not require air conditioning.

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