ALEXANDRIA, VA (WUSA9) - There no heat, no air conditioning and now mold. Elderly residents at the Manchester Lakes Senior Apartment complex in Kingstowne are at their wits' end dealing with on-going problems.
Several residents expressed their concerns to WUSA9, but are fearful of speaking out publicly, because they're afraid of being evicted.
Manchester Lakes is owned by JRK Property Holdings in California. It's one of the largest apartment owners in the country. The company receives tax credits for Manchester Lakes and in exchange provides low rents for qualifying senior citizens.
Some of those seniors are terrified of being kicked out, because they'll have no where to go. Many have no children in the area.
Marianna Kowalski, 91, has lived at Manchester Lakes since 2006. She's lucky because her daughter, Christine Harris, lives nearby.
"This looks a lot worse from the last time I saw it, but it developed quickly, the mold," said Christine Harris as she opened the door to the broken heating and A/C system.
"As of today, we still have no heat and we still have no AC and this began about the end of June," said Harris.
She said she knows of many other residents who have similar problems with poor maintenance. When the two-building complex has a maintenance staff, it's usually only one man, who quickly gets overwhelmed with all the problems, she says.
One time, Harris said a maintenance man arrived at 10:30 at night. She made a comment about all the overtime pay he would receive, and he told her he doesn't receive overtime pay.
Kowalski pays full rent, $1,200 a month. But qualifying low income residents pay much less as part of a federal HUD program that provides tax credits to JRK Property Holdings.
"The battles are everyday, literally. I have called JRK management in California. Can't get through to anyone there. I go our rental office daily to try and find out when will the heat be fixed. When will the AC be fixed. I'm sorry there's nothing we can tell you, " said Harris.
She said the manager told her a part was in, but they had no maintenance person to install it.
WUSA9 sent photos and a video of Kowalski's broken system to Steve Nugent, who runs John Nugent and Sons HVAC, a Northern Virginia heating and air conduction company. He was very concerned about the mold.
"The moisture is not being dealt with correctly. So, we would want to be dealing with that problem very quickly because we wouldn't want anything to start going and getting worse in the environment, which is eventually going to hurt people. It's a serious problem that needs to be addressed," said Nugent.
We walked with Harris to the manager's office who did not want to be recorded. She told Harris that she was sending up a window AC unit for her mom and said a maintainable person from Georgia would be coming up on Monday to fix her heating system.
Harris said she is trying to be optimistic, but it's getting harder.
WUSA9 left both written and phone messages with JRK in Los Angeles asking about the mold, and heating and AC problems at Manchester Lakes, but received no reply on Friday.
In July, WUSA9 reported that the complex had no running water. And in December of 2014, there was a rodent infestation. Both of those problems appear to be corrected.
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