Low heat frustrates apartment tenants

Some students living in College Towers haven’t found much escape from the cold weather – many said their apartments are frigid inside while it’s frozen outside.

Since Monday, resident Keith Smith has been complaining to College Towers’ management about the lack of heating in his apartment. He’s been monitoring the temperatures, he said, and at the beginning of the week, they fell as low as 49 degrees.

Because of the warm December weather, heating had not been much of an issue until recently, Smith said. Now, his apartment is so cold he’s been staying at his parents’ house in Warren.

“I haven’t been able to come home and study,” said Smith, a junior business management major. “I wanted to come home the other night, here where it’s quiet, but I had to go home to my parents’, where it’s difficult to study.”

Although management told Smith his heat was fixed on Wednesday, the temperature in his apartment only reached 61 degrees yesterday morning.

“It’s still very cold and not livable,” he said, adding he uses a space heater to keep warm.

Heather Beer, property manager of College Towers, declined to comment on the situation.

There seemed to be no pattern to which apartments were affected – in one hallway, some were too warm while others were too cold.

Heating and cooling expenses are paid for by the management, but Smith said residents are required to pay their own electricity bills. He and other residents say they worry using space heaters will increase their electricity costs.

Resident Lea Kreimes, senior fashion merchandising major, said although her apartment has been cold in the past, this week has been the worst.

“I even said (to my friend) I’d rather pay for my own heat and live comfortably than have them (management) pay for it,” said Kreimes, adding the outside hallways have been warmer than her bedroom.

Resident Amanda Perrin said she and her roommate have also had a hard time keeping their apartment warm this week.

“Our fish died because it was so cold,” Perrin said. “The heat just doesn’t really work good at all, to be honest.”

Residents have been doing everything they can to keep warm, from bundling up to leaving their ovens on, but Capt. John Tosko of the Kent Fire Department warned against using ovens as heating devices.

“The biggest problem is that ovens are not made to run continuously,” he said. “You could have malfunctions with an oven that way.”

Tosko said gas ovens emit low levels of carbon monoxide and when run continuously, they can pose serious health risks.

Sophomore psychology major Hiro Tachibana said residents of College Towers have been living “like animals” this week, adding that management doesn’t seem concerned about residents’ well-being.

“They don’t care because they don’t live here,” he said. “I respect them, and they should respect me.”

Smith, who has contacted an attorney about the heating situation, said he is disappointed by the management’s slow response.

“Signing a lease for this place is one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made,” he said. “More so the management than the atmosphere or place. They aren’t cooperative.”

Contact public affairs reporters Katie Alberti at [email protected] and Kate Bigam at [email protected].