LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Tuesday, Mairelys Suarez – nine months pregnant and on the verge of tears – had gone weeks without a good night’s sleep. As hot as it was outside during the hottest July on record in Southern Nevada, it was over 90 degrees in her one-bedroom apartment at Toscana Villas apartment complex at Topaz and Tropicana.
But after an 8 News Now Investigation into Suarez’s situation and the situation of two other tenants living in an adjacent apartment, Suarez is sleeping, well, like a baby.
“It’s good,” Suarez said Thursday.
She told the 8 News Now Investigators the management company, Westland Real Estate Group of Westland, Calif., replaced or repaired her unit. It was a cool 74 degrees inside her apartment Thursday, and where a portable air conditioner stood for weeks, now sits a baby stroller. She had been paying double the monthly electric bill to run the unit, which barely made a difference.
Now, Suarez says Westland Real Estate Group credited her some money off her next month’s rent.
“Very good,” Suarez, who speaks very little English, told the 8 News Now Investigators.
But those neighbors in the adjacent apartment, who say they also sweltered for weeks with only two portable units in their apartment – one provided by Westland Real Estate Group and one they purchased themselves – moved out, according to a neighbor. She told the 8 News Now Investigators they moved into new quarters, unable to handle the heat inside their unit.
Those residents – David Guzik and his father – are both terminally ill and in hospice, Guzik said. He said his father was on his deathbed and had to be removed at one point by the fire department, receiving a week or more of medical treatment.
“But I might be leaving anyways,” Guzik said Friday. “I might be going to a group home and he may be going to a group home.”
After a weekend of heat inside his home, it seems Guzik did just that.
Responding to calls from the 8 News Now Investigators Monday, Westland Real Estate Group provided 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.”
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
- 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 that is abated