CHEVERLY, Md. — Hundred of residents of a Prince George's County apartment complex are with no air conditioning amid a three-day heat wave.
Veronica Gutierrez says the last couple days have been suffocating inside her basement level unit in the Cheverly Station apartments in Cheverly, Md. The only thing slightly cooling her home is a ceiling fan.
The mother of two says she reached out to Ross Management two weeks ago so that they could have her centralized air conditioning up and running in time for the high temperatures. She tested her thermostat Saturday afternoon, and all that blows out is warm air.
"I have two daughters, sometimes they tell me they have headaches because of the heat inside our home. We cannot sleep. I even have to cook really early to avoid adding heat to the house," says Gutierrez in Spanish.
In a letter to residents, Ross Management did warn tenants that air conditioning would not be available until May 30, adding "Please be advised after-hours maintenance will not respond to calls for air-conditioning this weekend because air-conditioning this weekend is not yet available."
Cheverly Mayor Kayce Munyeneh, along with Prince George's County councilmember Jolene Ivey and city councilmember Charly Garces toured the complex this afternoon.
"If you are paying $1,500 to $1,800 for a one-bedroom apartment, it seems like air conditioning should come with that. I think it is a normal request when it is 95 degrees outside," said Munyeneh who offered to open up city hall so some residents could cool off.
Garces is also a tenant at Cheverly Station, he says his neighbors have been coming to him with the same complaints, "They are telling me that they have stopped picking up their calls and redirecting them, and there is no conclusive answer."
A Prince George's County law passed in 2020 "requiring that air conditioning, provided by a landlord, must be maintained at a temperature of no more than 80 degrees Fahrenheit in each habitable space, and be activated June 1 through September 30 of each year."
Ivey says leaving tenants without AC is negligence, "This is not okay, and when the management company sends out an email to say they are sorry for the inconvenience, this isn't an inconvenience, this is life threatening. People die in heat like this, and we have known for days that this heat was coming."
Some residents have installed window units even though they are not permitted, another tenant was seen carrying in his second portable AC unit because he says his home reached 88 degrees Fahrenheit.
We have reached out to Ross Management for comment but have yet to hear back in time for this report.