LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – With two weeks to go until she gives birth to her second child, things are heating up for Mairelys Suarez.
Especially in her apartment in the east valley, where she said has been without a working air conditioner since July 12.
“Horrible … terrible,” Suarez told the 8 News Now Investigators in Spanish. “Muy caliente,” she said, Spanish for ‘very hot.’
Suarez, a resident at Toscana Villas on South Topaz near South Eastern said since she took occupancy in Feb., explained that it’s too hot to sleep.
She is paying double her normal electric bill to run the portable unit her management company provided her until her central air is repaired. She added that the portable unit barely cools works either.
“Fix it,” Suarez said in Spanish when asked how she’d like to see this situation resolved.
In the bank of residential units next to Suarez is another sweltering apartment. The occupants, David Guzik, and his father, are both in hospice, suffering from the same respiratory ailment – COPD.
As of July 17, they are both living without air conditioning. Like Suarez, Guzik and his father have a portable unit they purchased and another provided by the management company. They say neither makes much of a difference.
“It is horrible,” Guzik said. It’s been going on so long I’m almost used to it.” Guzik said during the sweltering heat of July, the fire department was forced to remove his father from the apartment.
He returned after 7-10 days of recovery, Guzik told the 8 News Now Investigators.
“He’s in hospice, supposed to pass away,” He said.
Guzik said the management company, Westland Real Estate Group in Long Beach, Calif., sent a maintenance worker with a new part but had to order another part. And Guzik says when he asked Westland Real Estate Group to put him and his father in a hotel, he was told they do not offer tenants that option.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” Guzik said. “No one knows what’s going on.”
The 8 News Now Investigators visited the on-site management office twice on Friday.
The first time, someone in the office provided a business card and said no one was available to talk.
When the 8 News Now Investigators returned some thirty minutes later, the door was locked.
Eventually, the same person provided a new phone number, which led to Westland Real Estate Group providing the following statement:
“The Toscana Villa apartments are committed to providing comfortable, affordable, clean environments for its residents. While we try to avoid it as much as possible, maintenance issues with air conditioning units do occur during the summer months. When that happens, we respond promptly. We are aware of the two units identified by 8 NewsNow that have air conditioning issues. In both cases, the Toscana Villa Apartments worked quickly, first to attempt to repair the units and then to order a replacement. In the meanwhile, both tenants were supplied with temporary, portable units. We anticipate that permanent replacement units will be installed shortly, possibly as soon as today. As always, the security, health, and comfort of our residents is our first priority.”
As of Monday morning evening, respectively, neither Guzik nor Suarez had heard any update from Westland Real Estate Group.
No air conditioning is “actionable”
Nevada Legal Services tells the 8 News Now Investigators that air conditioning is an “Essential Service,” according to state statute, and that failure to provide such an essential service is “actionable.
“The tenant must provide a written notice to the landlord of the breach,” Nevada Legal Services said in an email to the 8 News Now Investigators. “That notice must give the landlord 48 hours notice (excluding weekends and holidays) to fix the problem with the essential service.
If the landlord fails to fix the problem within 48 hours, Nevada Legal Services, referring to state statute, says the tenant may:
- Procure reasonable amounts of such essential items or services during the landlord’s noncompliance and deduct their actual and reasonable cost from the rent
- Recover actual damages, including damages based upon the lack of use of the premises or the diminution of the fair rental value of the dwelling unit
- Withhold any rent that becomes due during the landlord’s noncompliance without incurring late fees, charges for notice, or any other charge or fee authorized by this chapter or the rental agreement, until the landlord has attempted in good faith to restore the essential items or services; or
- Procure other housing which is comparable during the landlord’s noncompliance, and the rent for the original premises fully abates during this period. The tenant may recover the actual and reasonable cost of that other housing which is in excess of the amount of rent which is abated.