DENVER (KDVR) — The FOX31 Problem Solvers are getting results after a Denver family went without heat in subzero temperatures over the weekend. The family said its landlord was no help, but help was on the way shortly after the Problem Solvers got involved.
Steven Trujillo said his home heating system stopped working on Thursday. On Sunday, after he called the Problem Solvers, FOX31 aired a report on the issue at The Villages at Curtis Park apartment complex.
Trujillo’s two young children had to stay with their grandmother while Trujillo and his wife kept trying to get a response from their landlord, he said. Trujillo said their calls for help went unanswered for a few days.
“After your story aired people— just strangers— were willing to help me and my family out … pay for hotels for our family,” Trujillo said.
Trujillo said the good people at Hytek Air Systems in Centennial got the heat back on for free.
“The [apartment] maintenance guy reached out to us and said, ‘who fixed your heater,’” Trujillo said. “Not once did he apologize or say I’m sorry your family was out there without heat.”
Attorney Jake Eppler told the Problem Solvers Colorado law requires that a landlord provide heat. If there is no heat, a tenant can send written notice to the landlord. The landlord then has five business days to fix the issue, per the law.
“The five business days gives the landlord enough time to hopefully fix the problem without ending the lease,” Eppler said.
If not fixed, Eppler said a tenant can end their lease without penalty in 10 to 30 days. Eppler is not repressing Trujillo, but said in general, a tenant could have viable standing for a lawsuit in a situation like his.
The Problem Solvers called the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment on Trujillo’s behalf. The city issued The Villages at Curtis Park a notice of violation.
Eppler said if there’s still no heat after a city or county agency gets involved, the tenant could petition a judge to order the landlord to finally take action. But because of the Problem Solvers’ actions, Trujillo did not have to jump through those legal hoops.
“Problem Solvers … I love the stories you guys do,” Trujillo said. “You’re there for people when people need help and you’re there. That means a lot to us.”
The Villages at Curtis Park is part of The Integral Group LLC, according to its website. FOX31 reached out for comment. Calls seeking comment have not been returned.