Northglenn apartment residents without heat, hot water after bizarre accidents

NORTHGLENN, Colo. -- Half a dozen apartments are without heat and hot water and another three units are displaced after a bizarre series of crashes at the Reserve at Northglenn apartment complex.

About 6 a.m. Sunday, a car traveling on Community Center Drive drove through a set of bushes and a stop sign, and crashed into a porch.

The driver fled the scene, but left behind significant damage to the building, including a closet containing the hot water heater.

Unit 1112 suffered the most damage. Three units were evacuated for safety.

On March 3, a neighbor hit the gas pedal instead of the brake while parking and crashed her car through the bedroom wall of unit 1113.

“The lady’s tires were literally on the bed,” resident Adam Arellano said.

He said his renter’s insurance won’t cover the cost of the damages, including replacing the bedroom furniture that was destroyed, the clothes they lost or the five nights they had to pay at a hotel.

Arellano estimates the crash has cost his family about $4,000.

“These last nine days have just been, like, I can’t even put it into words. Financially, it has just drained everything,” he said.

Arellano said he was hoping the apartment complex would help. Instead, he claims his lease was terminated and he was initially offered no help from management.

“So, you’re not going to do a refund? I can’t stay here. You’re not going to give us vouchers or any kind of help for a hotel. What are you going to do? Nothing,” he said.

Arellano said about a week after the crash, property managers offered to transfer him to a new unit. However, he believes he should get additional compensation or rent concessions too.

“They will not be charged for the time they could not live in their previous apartment," Linda Kirkwood, the senior regional manager for Madrona Ridge Residential, the property management company for the complex, said in an email. "Since they transferred to a fully functional apartment, they will be requested to pay the full amount of rent, less the days they were displaced.”

Five other units were impacted after the March 3 crash. Those residents were displaced for four nights and received help from the Red Cross.

Madrona Ridge has offered each of them half off March rent and will prorate the daily rent rate into April at half off until the damage is fixed.

Affected residents said the rent concession is not worth it.

“We are now without heat and no hot water,” Nicole Vigil said.

When the car crashed into unit 1113, it severed the gas lines for six units.

“You were told that you either have to sign an agreement to stay and that’s what you accept or you have to be out of your unit in three days and you’re kind of like scrambling,” she said.

Vigil said she felt like she had no choice but to stay and doesn’t feel like management cares for the residents.

“I wish they would kind of be a little bit more understanding,” she said.

Madrona Ridge said it is standard legal practice to only give tenants three days to move out after a catastrophic even.

It also gave space heaters to the residents who opted to stay in their units without the gas. They are also allowed to use shower facilities at a nearby recreation center until the hot water is back.

“Unfortunately, we do not have a timeline on this at this time. We explained to all the residents that this could take 30 to 60 days,” Kirkwood said. "We are sincerely hoping Xcel can have the gas meters installed and the gas back on by the end of this month.”