Family without heat desperate for landlord's help ahead of winter weather

PASADENA, Texas (KTRK) -- The Houston area is gearing up for some of the coldest temperatures it has seen in decades, and the scramble is on to get ready and stay warm.

Amanda Johnson is really up against the clock. She said her HVAC unit at Red Pines Apartments would trip up every now and then, but took a turn for the worst mid-January.

"It just stopped working altogether," Johnson explained.

With the forecast calling for temperatures as low as 10 degrees, Johnson said she's running out of time. She's already had to take drastic measures to stay warm.

"It's really cold," she said. "Last night, we had three space heaters running up until the time I went to bed. We had the oven on and heating."

After numerous emails and a phone conversation, Johnson said she was told by her property manager that someone would be out to do repairs last Friday, but no one came.

ABC13 called the Pasadena Fire Marshal's office, who got on the case right away.

Within an hour, they got an investigator on the case and told employees at Johnson's complex to either fix the heat, put her and her family in a unit with a working heater or pay to have them stay in a hotel.

"I just want it fixed. I don't want to cause anybody grief. I don't want to be a squeaky wheel," she said. "But, at this point, my options, legally, are to either retain a lawyer and get it taken care of or simply move - both of which are pretty expensive."

ABC13 reached out to Red Pines Apartments and Asset Living Property Management Company about Johnson's dilemma. The company issued the following statement:

"Red Pines takes the comfort and safety of our residents seriously and strives to promptly attend to service requests."

Additionally, if you or someone you know is a little behind on your bills and fear your utilities may be cut off during the winter storm, don't panic.

CenterPoint Energy and several other vendors have agreed to not disconnect gas services next week. BakerRipley also provides utility assistance year-round if you need it.

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