South Acres apartment residents losing their cool over property managers leaving AC issues unfixed

Mycah Hatfield Image
Monday, June 5, 2023
400-unit apartment complex in South Acres without AC for a month
Villas at Sandrock Apartments residents want answers to their continued lack of air conditioning that has now stretch a month now.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As summer weather continues to heat up, residents of the Villas at Sandrock Apartments have been without air conditioning for about a month.

Sandra Collins, who's lived at the complex since 2019, has six fans set up in her two-bedroom apartment to try to stay cool.

"I got a box of popsicles to try to keep cool when my inside body temperature just can't handle," Collins said.

The complex is located at 12000 Martin Luther King in the South Acres neighborhood. There are more than 400 units.

ABC13 crews asked numerous residents in different buildings and areas of the complex. All of them said they have not had central air conditioning for weeks.

One resident sat on the porch outside of his unit with a box fan. He said it is cooler outside on a 90-degree day than it is inside.

"I try to be still when I'm in the house, you know, just one spot," Collins said. "Can't go in the kitchen. It's a gas stove. It's hot when you try to cook."

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Residents said they have not gotten any notice from management telling them what is going on or when it will be resolved.

"Don't think that it's none of my business, because it is," Collins said. "Then, I can maybe better understand. I may not like it."

Collins said she stopped by the front office twice and called at least four times but has rarely been able to speak with anyone.

"When I did speak with her, she told me, she said, 'Just be patient,'" Collins said. "Well, that was two and a half, three weeks ago."

Rent is due for Collins and the other tenants. She is unsure if she is going to pay.

"Why should I pay you to live in a hot box?" Collins asked.

Under the "Our responsibilities" section of her lease, the complex states, "Generally we'll act with customary diligence to" maintain air conditioning equipment.

Collins asked the management if they would deduct the cost of a window unit out of her rent so she could buy one. She said she has not heard back.

Dozens of units in the complex have window unit air conditioners.

An ABC13 crew was told by property managers inside the leasing office that they were not able to comment. They provided a document with the phone number for the corporate property management company, Allied Orion Group. The phone number was incorrect.

The employee at Allied Orion Group, which oversees the complex, did not answer her phone. Eyewitness News had to leave a message for the same woman residents say has not gotten back to them for weeks.

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ABC13 also reached out to Councilwoman Carolyn Evans-Shabazz on Friday afternoon.

"I believe we bring out all of the arsenal until people respond and do that which is appropriate," she said.

She mentioned the possibility of getting the Houston Health Department, Houston Housing Authority, and Mayor Sylvester Turner's office involved.

"But for you reaching out to me, I would not know about this situation," Evans-Shabazz said. "I want people to know that they need to call their district council members and let us know what's going on."

State laws do not specifically give tenants the right to air conditioning. The City of Houston does have an ordinance that says if window screens are not provided on a living space, air conditioning equipment must be kept in good operating condition to provide an inside temperature of 20 degrees Fahrenheit less than the outside temperature, or 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

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