Kenwood Tenants Report ‘Unlivable' Conditions after Pipes Burst Inside

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Several tenants in a Kenwood apartment building have been living in difficult conditions during the coldest weather of the season, according to eight residents who spoke with NBC 5 on Monday.

The problems range from no heat or sporadic running water, to flooding in at least two units because of burst pipes. Some tenants described living with all three problems over the span of several days.

"The pipes have burst throughout the whole building," said Crystal Pinkney. "I’m the ground unit, so I got everybody’s water."

Pinkney said her pipes burst on Dec. 19, then the heat went out the next day. She said she and her daughter have been sleeping in their cold, wet apartment for six days.

"I am trying to get out of here as soon as possible," said Pinkney, who also said she has now had two apartments in this building impacted by flooding this year.

Tenants described almost non-existent response from management in the last week. They said this has been typical in a building that has experienced numerous mechanical and safety problems for months.

The building is owned by 312 Property Management, which provided an initial statement about the situation the affected addresses, 4520 and 4526 South Drexel Boulevard.

"Our tenants are safe, with heat, electricity and running water," said Ariel Lowenstein via text. "Maintenance staff has been on site since the freeze and is continuing to run tests in the building to make sure the problem is fully resolved. We worked around the clock and exhausted all resources, to keep everyone safe and comfortable in their home during these extreme conditions."

It was not clear how many apartments were impacted by flooding, a lack of heat, or sporadic plumbing. NBC 5 visited several apartments and observed problems at both addresses and on multiple floors.

"We are testing building systems and working to fix all issues during these extraordinary weather conditions," Lowenstein texted in a follow-up statement.

The apartments are subsidized through vouchers provided by the Chicago Housing Authority.

"CHA is looking into this matter and is communicating with other city departments," CHA Spokesman Matt Aguilar said in a statement. "Landlords renting to CHA voucher holders must adhere to quality standards. In the meantime, if the tenants need immediate assistance, please direct them to 311 to be connected to resources and emergency shelter options."

Tenants said they were not only frustrated with the immediate problems they faced, but several other problems they said have gone unaddressed. They pointed to long-standing issues with security, mold, plumbing and rodents.

"Nothing is getting better; it's getting worse," said Beatrice Weaver.

Weaver said she has reported many problems with her apartment to the landlord, and filed several complaints with CHA.

"It’s kind of like, 'Go away, it doesn’t matter,'" Weaver said. "[It's as if] we don’t matter, we don’t count."

Several tenants said on Monday night that they planned to move out, and stay wherever they could. Others said they had nowhere else to go, and that their Christmas week was ruined.

"This is just unacceptable and not livable," said another tenant, who asked not to be identified. "No one should have to live like this."

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