DENVER — Several residents living at the Grand Lowry Lofts in Denver say the apartment complex has been without working air conditioning (A/C) since the beginning of June, and the heat is unbearable.
Built decades ago, the Grand Lowry Lofts were originally used as barracks. The historic nature of the building was one of the attractions for Donna Smith.
"There's a lot of history in this building. So, I was really excited to come here," Smith said. "And for the first couple of years, things weren't too bad. And then things started changing when the pandemic hit. Things really got rougher and rougher in terms of being maintained."
Smith said she and her husband are on a fixed income, and have to be careful about their spending. She said one of their children bought them a cooling unit, which cost around $300. Plus, they have a handful of fans running constantly throughout the apartment.
“It was really about the first week of June when we started saying, 'Hey, there's no A/C. The A/C is not working,'" Smith said. “We can't cook — it creates heat. So we've had to spend extra money on frozen foods and things that we can just quickly cook in the microwave... Laundry has been a nightmare. We sweat more, we shower more, the linens get drenched with sweat. I mean, stuff that you don't think about normally, because you're just living normal life. You don't think about those extra little costs, but they're adding up.”
Smith claims the property management company, Rose Community Management, has not been very communicative with residents regarding the broken air conditioning.
“I got fairly agitated with them and started writing and saying the first thing that needs to be fixed is communication. You've got to tell us what's going on," Smith said.
Denver7 obtained a copy of a letter from Grand Lowry Lofts sent on June 30 to residents, which said about the air conditioning, "We understand that limited A/C in the building is a significant concern, and we are committed to rectifying this issue. The temporary cooling tower is ordered and we have applied for the required permits. We anticipate that the installation of the cooling tower, which will provide more consistent cooling building-wide, will be complete by the end of July. Our goal is to complete the work faster if possible."
Rose Community Management also sent Denver7 a statement in response to residents' concerns:
We have been making all efforts to restore cooling to the building as soon as possible. A temporary cooling tower is scheduled for delivery this week and we expect air conditioning to be restored by Friday. In the meantime for immediate relief, the building common room is air conditioned and available to all residents. We apologize for the inconvenience.
One resident provided us with a copy of their lease, which includes this excerpt, “Air conditioning problems are not emergencies. If air conditioning or other equipment malfunctions, you must notify our representative as soon as possible on a business day. We’ll act with customary diligence to make repairs and reconnections. Rent will not abate in whole or in part except as permitted by law.”
The Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) said there is no requirement in Denver's housing code that a property must have air conditioning. However, DDPHE has received complaints about the Grand Lowry Lofts and conducted a site visit. The agency issued a notice of violation requiring the complex to repair the air conditioning.
DDPHE said renters can always call 311 if they experience health and safety-related issues. The first step is to contact the landlord, but if that does not resolve the issue, DDPHE said it can send someone from its office to help.
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