INDIANAPOLIS — As temperatures plummet and furnaces fail, the Marion County Public Health Department is anticipating an influx of calls from renters with no heat.
LaTonya Tucker is one of those renters.
She lives at Serenity Park, an apartment complex near 38th and Post Road on the east side.
“I have no heat,” said Tucker. “It's terrible. It's sad, and they will not fix anything."
Tucker lives with her teenage grandson and is worried about having no heat during subzero temperatures.
Tucker contacted the Marion County Public Health Department, who issued a notice of violation to Serenity Park on Dec. 8 following a Dec. 7 inspection.
The violation ordered Serenity Park to repair or replace the heat immediately by December 8.
However, the heat has still not been fixed.
“I did not pay my rent this month because of the situation,” said Tucker.
The notice says the heat should safely and adequately heat all rooms to at least 68 degrees, and also says gas service should be restored to the apartment.
Serenity Park faces a $2,500 if the violations aren’t fixed.
"It's the responsibility of the property owner to make sure that furnace is repaired,” said Lara Morgan, a team leader with the housing and neighborhood division of the Marion County Public Health Department.
Since Nov. 1, the health department has received 130 complaints for no heat, which is considered an emergency.
"We would issue an order to them to restore that heat,” said Morgan. “It is a 24-hour emergency so we would allow them that one day to restore the heat and get it back fixed. After that, we have the option to make a referral to our legal team for court."
The legal process can take weeks, so renters are encouraged to protect themselves in the meantime.
“Right now, they need to start looking for a contingency plan,” said Morgan. “We don't want people in their homes if they don't have heat and don't have the ability to stay warm."
During the frigid weather, the health department will not be doing inspections, however, they will have someone taking phone calls.
You can contact the Marion County Public Health Department at 317-221-2150 or 317-221-2000.
"They will do their best to reach out to property owners to let them know there is no heat at a particular residence and initiate the emergency order,” said Morgan.
Serenity Park and the Marion County Public Health Department have a court hearing on January 19 regarding the notice of violation.
WRTV Investigates stopped by the Serenity Park management office Thursday.
Property manager Ruth Johnson told WRTV they are working on fixing the heat and are gathering quotes from service providers.
LaTonya Tucker says she plans to use space heaters to stay warm, which the health department warns can be a fire hazard.
“I’m just really afraid for my family right now,” said Tucker. “I need help.”
The health department emphasizes even if they've issued an order, do not stay in an apartment with no heat.
Go to a friend or family member’s house or a warming center.
If you do not have heat, contact your landlord or property manager.