Andrew Dys

Broken A/C in blazing heat steams York apartment tenant

A portable air conditioner set up by the landlord at Debbie Burton’s York apartment after her central air conditioning stopped working properly.
A portable air conditioner set up by the landlord at Debbie Burton’s York apartment after her central air conditioning stopped working properly. Andrew Dys

For the past three stiflingly hot weeks, the air conditioning in Debbie Burton’s downtown York apartment has not been working properly.

Burton, 61, lives on a fixed income at the Rose Apartments across from the York County Courthouse. She did not have regular working central air conditioning while temperatures held steady in the upper-90s for more than two weeks straight.

She put blankets over windows and more to try to keep the heat out and the cool in, but she was forced to stay for stretches with her daughter in western York County, at other times with a neighbor.

“I became dehydrated,” Burton said. “It was so hot, I had to stay elsewhere.”

Since June 12, the central air conditioning in her apartment in the historic hotel that was renovated into apartments more than 10 years ago has not worked properly, Burton said.

Her landlord, Landmark Property Management Co, specializes in turning historic buildings into apartments and has many properties in several states. It operates the Highland Park apartments in Rock Hill and Hunter Bay apartments in York, both of which are converted former textile mills.

A Landmark employee based at another York property said Burton’s problems had been taken care of, but Burton said those temporary fixes – a wall unit and portable air conditioner – simply didn’t do the job.

“The wall unit didn’t come anywhere near making it cool enough in the bedroom to stay here, let alone sleep,” Burton said. “The last reading they took near the vents in the ceiling where the air conditioning normally comes in showed the air coming in at 95 degrees.”

The company then brought in a portable air conditioner hooked up to a living room window with a dryer-vent type hose.

“But it doesn’t cool the whole place,” said Burton, who slept on a couch next to the portable air conditioner Sunday night.

Landmark officials have sent Burton emails saying that the recent heat wave has created a backlog of work for repair contractors, but they told Burton her air conditioning would be repaired.

Mary Black, regional property manager for Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Landmark, said Monday that the company has “never disregarded” Burton’s problems with the air conditioning, saying maintenance people have been working on it since mid-June. In March, she said, they replaced the compressor for the air conditioner unit that cools Burton’s and another tenant’s apartments.

When Burton reported that the unit was not cooling properly in mid-June, Black said, Landmark sent a repairman, who found coil and other problems that had to be replaced. At that time, the window air conditioner was installed.

On Thursday, Burton said, the air conditioning was out again. Contractors found that storms had caused the fan motor to freeze up, Black said. The part was ordered and is scheduled to be replaced Tuesday morning.

“We have addressed every repair request,” Black said.

But Burton said she wants the whole unit replaced so that problems don’t continue.

“I want to stay here and be cool,” she said.

Andrew Dys •  803-329-4065 •