76-year-old Raleigh woman says her apartment has been without heat for a week

Investigators

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A Raleigh woman has been living without a working furnace in her apartment for seven days. She said she’s been waiting to hear back from her management company about when it will get fixed.

Landlords are required to provide heat, plumbing, and other systems. They’re also required to repair them promptly, but Anita Monti said that isn’t happening for her.

Wintry knick-knacks featuring snow scenes and frost-covered homes mirror the conditions in Monti’s apartment.

“Last week, I had my sweatshirt and afghan wrapped around me—plus another blanket,” she said.

That’s because the furnace in her apartment isn’t working. Problems began around the beginning of December. She said a maintenance man tried to fix the malfunctioning furnace.

Monti said the heat came back on and then shut off as soon as the maintenance man left. The unit continued to blow cool air. After repeated attempts to fix it over several days, she said the maintenance man gave up on Dec. 12. He told her she’ll need a contractor.

In the meantime, the complex gave Monti a small space heater she said barely heats the living room. A thermometer in her apartment’s kitchen said it was 54 degrees at 11:15 a.m.

According to the state’s legal statute, “Heat must warm living areas to 65 degrees when it is 20 degrees outside between Nov. 1 and March 31.”

“This isn’t an amenity. This is a necessity,” the 76-year-old said.

Monti said she’s heard nothing from management for a week. The property manager told CBS 17’s Steve Sbraccia that a heating unit has been ordered, but wouldn’t say when it’s going to be installed.

A renter has rights to a prompt repair of things like a furnace, according to the state. The attorney general’s office said, “If your landlord does not respond in a reasonable amount of time, you may decide to pay to repair an emergency problem yourself.”

Anyone who opts to make repairs themselves should keep receipts to prove what they paid.

Monti said she’s filed a complaint with the attorney general’s office. She also said she fears retribution from the management company for speaking out.

CBS 17 will keep checking to see when her furnace is replaced and her heat is restored.

The North Carolina Consumers Council also offers advice about how tenants should deal with landlords. It includes the responsibilities of both renters and landlords.

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