LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A woman who said she previously suffered a sweltering and record-breaking summer in her Las Vegas apartment without air conditioning said rainstorms and flooding have collapsed her ceiling, making living in the home difficult.
When the 8newsnow.com Investigators first met Mairelys Suarez, she was nine months pregnant. The weather was sweltering — the hottest July on record, and Suarez’s air conditioner was broken. Suarez’s apartment was so hot inside that stepping outdoors seemed cooler by comparison.
Suarez said living at her apartment at the Toscana Villas on Topaz Street between McLeod Drice and S. Eastern Avenue was “horrible” and “terrible.”
Since then, Suarez gave birth to her second child, Karol. The company managing her building, Westland Real Estate Group of Long Beach, California, attempted to repair the air conditioner that had not worked for weeks. Initially, the repair appeared to get the unit running again. However, the fix only worked for a few days.
“It’s hot again,” Suarez said on Aug. 22, bouncing a dozing Karol on her lap. “I call the manager, and nothing.”
Within days, the management company replaced the air conditioning unit, and Suarez said the new unit is still working. However, the ceiling began to leak when rainstorms flooded the Las Vegas valley over the weekend, and rainwater streamed down the walls and onto the floor. Brown streaks covered the wall from floor to ceiling. Plywood covered the massive holes where the ceilings once were.
Suarez said management has not yet come to fix any of the damage.
“Nothing,” Suarez said.
Requests for comment from Westland Real Estate Group went unanswered, as they did in a prior request. A spokeswoman provided a statement as part of a previous story about Suarez’s air conditioner.
“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.”
Suarez said she asked to be moved or be excused from her lease and that the management company would respond accordingly. By the end of the day Tuesday, Suarez said the management company offered to move her to a new apartment permanently or temporarily while they fix the ceiling.
A tenant excused from her lease – Suarez’s expires in February – should get their landlord to memorialize the termination in writing, lawyers tell the 8 News Now Investigators.
John Brogden, an attorney at the Tenant’s Rights Center for Southern Nevada, said that should always be the rule of thumb.
“Get all your communications with your landlord – if they agree to any modifications – get it in writing,” Brogden, who spoke in general terms and not specifically about Suarez’s situation, said.
Generally, Brogden said, a tenant must notify the landlord of a problem, at which point the landlord has 14 days to reasonably respond or start to fix the issue. In cases like air conditioners, he said, or maybe even a collapsed ceiling, a landlord might have only 48 hours – not including weekends and holidays – to address the issue. A ceiling collapse could deprive the tenant of essential services like security or proper ventilation.
If a landlord ignored the problem for over 48 hours, a tenant could, in certain circumstances, break the lease, Brogden said.