Heater issues leaves family freezing cold


The law is pretty clear: If you rent or lease, the landlord has to provide heat on cold nights, but tenants have a roll to play as well.

Nia Davey is a busy single mom with one big problem.

"It was 36 degrees in my house last night. It was freezing cold," Davey said.

Davey says the heat in her leased home never did work properly and now that it's cold outside, only two back rooms warm up using the central heating system.

"I was getting no heat in this front main area of the house and in the kitchen," she said.

Davey says she's contacted her out-of-town landlord by phone and by text message over the last five days, and even though a repairman had been scheduled, no one ever arrived.

On Tuesday afternoon, we called the landlord and not long after Davey's phone rang.

"About 3 o'clock, right now, she told me that the company had gotten my telephone number wrong," Davey said. "They said they could be out here some time in the next few hours to fix it."

Davey's lease says nothing about who is responsible for fixing the heating system, but University of Houston law professor Richard Alderman says according to the law, the burden is the landlord's. He adds tenants must first complain in writing about the problem, he suggests using registered mail. After that...

"You actually have the right to move out. You can collect whatever damages were, if you had to stay in a hotel. You can collect one months rent plus an additional $500," Alderman said.

Davey says the repairman did show up to the home, but would not tell her much about the problem and unfortunately the heater is still not warming the entire home. We'll keep you posted.

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