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Nowhere to go: Families stranded after Lakewood pipe bursts, causing thousands in damage

Posted at 9:39 PM, Feb 14, 2020

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LAKEWOOD, Colo. --- Residents as well as the property owners of an apartment complex in Lakewood, want the city to take responsibility for the damage caused by a city pipe that burst recently.

At least six apartments were flooded by the pipe leak, according to Hal Hultquist, the property manager for American Property Solutions.

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The pipe burst last Saturday morning, and since then, Tiya Trent and her son have been living in their apartment, which was ravaged by floodwater. Through tears, she said she has nowhere to go.

"I am barely making it as it is, and now, I have to move somewhere and not have anything basically," Trent said.

It's why she said she hasn't moved out. She's living without heat and said she didn't have hot water for several days.

"It's frustrating," Trent said. "I already work like, three jobs, so it's a lot for my youngest son and me," Trent said.

She is set to visit an apartment offered by her complex, but she said it's out of her budget.

Isaac Rodriguez estimates he lost between $7-$8,000 in personal property. He reached out to Allstate, his renter's insurance, which denied him coverage for the flood.

American Property Solutions, which runs the property, refunded residents their rent. Hultquist said they are scrambling to house residents and admitted the insurance the apartment company does business with also denied them coverage. Halquist estimates the flood caused between $50,000 to $100,000 in property damage.

He said the city has denied them any help. Now, Halquist wants the city to pay for the resident's property damage and the damage caused to the apartments.

"It's just a horrible situation all the way around," Halquist said.

"It's pretty frustrating as it is when you can barely pay your bills, and the city hasn't even said anything," Trent said. "(The city) hasn't offered an apology, hasn't come and explained what happened…nothing."

Contact7 reached out to the city of Lakewood. They said in situations like these, residents should reach out to their renter's insurance, but the people Contact7 spoke with said their renter's insurance does not cover flooding.

Contact7 also asked the city what caused the pipe to break, and about the protocol to replace property damage.

Stacie Oulton, a spokesperson for the city, responded with the following:

"I appreciate your efforts to help these residents, but unfortunately, the staff members involved with this issue are not available today, which means I won't be able to provide you answers to these questions until those staff members are available next week."

Halquist said they are working with an attorney to take action.

Carol Walker, Executive Director Rocky Mountain Insurance Association, said it's not uncommon for renters insurance to not cover flooding. She said it's coverage renters often have to purchase separate. She recommends that people make sure they understand what incidents their insurance covers.

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