More Units Flood as Chicago Apartment Manager Struggles to Control Cold-Driven Problems

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Two additional units inside an apartment building in Chicago's Kenwood neighborhood flooded early Wednesday morning, as property managers try to contain ongoing water damage from thawing pipes.

The recent floods continue a string of problems that tenants have reported since last week, which also includes periods of no heat and no running water.

One garden unit inside 4520 South Drexel has flooded four times in the last nine days, according to tenant Crystal Pinkney.

"I’ve lost everything," said Pinkney, who lives in the unit with her daughter. "At this point there’s nothing left to salvage."

Christina Hanes said water came gushing through the ceiling around 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

"Everything is ruined, everything is damaged," said Hanes, who lives in a garden unit with her son. "Everything has to be replaced: clothing, furniture, beds. All my items."

Tenants reported no heat and sporadic water over Christmas weekend, as extreme cold swept through the Chicago area. Property Manager Ari Lowenstein said heat and running water have been restored, and his team is working to fix problematic pipes.

"As the weather warms up, we’re finding a few more burst pipes that we didn’t know existed yesterday," Lowenstein said. "As we find those, we work immediately try to get the situation fixed."

The building is owned by 312 Property Management in the 4500 block of South Drexel.

Lowenstein said he wants tenants who have problems in their units to contact him so he can arrange other accommodations, such as a hotel. He said three or four tenants have asked for these options.

"Tenant safety and making sure that people are living in safe apartments is the number one priority for us," said Lowenstein.

At least eight tenants on Monday reported some combination of water and heat problems in their unit. Lowenstein said on Wednesday only three of the 64 units in the building are "down."

Several tenants said maintenance problems big and small have been ignored for months. They said problems with doors, locks, rodents, appliances or mold will be reported to building management, but if there is any progress on these issues, it often takes months.

The Chicago Housing Authority said it is aware of the situation, and is monitoring for updates.

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