Lois Scott says some of her neighbors have been sleeping on her couch because their apartment is freezing.
WASHINGTON — Several residents at a luxury Petworth senior apartment complex have been without heat since Sunday. With temperatures at or below freezing for nearly 90 hours between Sunday and Thursday, residents at Todd A. Lee Senior Residences have been forced to take matters in to their own hands.
Lois Scott welcomed WUSA9 into her home Thursday morning, and said she’s had to user her stove to keep warm.
“I was turning on the stove to make it warm then cut it off,” she said. “On medium to keep warm and then cut them off.”
Scott said she and other residents affected were given space heaters, but she doesn’t feel it’s the safest option.
“If they get too close to things, it can catch on fire.” she said.
Another resident, who asked not to be named, said her space heater made a noise, and then stopped workig.
“It’s like an igloo in some units,” she said.
Scott has taken in some of her neighbors whose apartments are colder than hers, and they have slept on her couch.
WUSA9 reached out to the apartment complex and management company to learn more about the situation and asked when the heat would be fixed, but they chose not to comment.
Residents also said there have been several other issues which have gone unfixed, including water leaks, cracks and rodents. Some of the neighbors told WUSA9 they are on a fixed income and can’t afford to move.
“You have people out here on walkers and oxygen and they are in fear,” one resident said.
Scott said her daughter has been contacting DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and Ward 4 Councilmember Janeese Lewis George to try and get some help, but didn’t hear back until Wednesday when Scott called media outlets.
“They started coming yesterday to fix the heat,” Scott said. “They came in to look at the thermostat. My heat is still not working, it’s blowing out cold air.”
WUSA9 reached out to councilmember Lewis George. Her office said they’ve been in and out of the building several times over the last few years, and provided the following statement:
“My team and I have visited Todd A. Lee Senior Residences on multiple occasions and worked closely with the Department of Buildings, the Department of Health, 4D01 Commissioner Joy Pinkney, and other residents to address the unacceptable rodent and air quality issues at the building. We have brought the agencies on site to hear from residents and hold management accountable for resolving these problems. This week, we have also worked with building management to restore heating to impacted units. All of our seniors deserve to live in healthy, warm, and dignified housing.”
The Councilmember also introduced legislation last fall to block landlords from getting new permits or licenses if they have several unresolved housing code violations.
Residents who feel like their landlord isn’t making the necessary repairs, can always submit a Housing Inspection.
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