Apartments billed as "luxury living" for college students in two different states have been cited by codes officials for not being warm enough inside, a Channel 4 I-Team investigation found.
The parents of students in living in Aspen Heights apartments, both in Murfreesboro, TN, and in Columbia, MO, said some of the units are so cold their children can't live in them.
The apartments are owned by a company out of Austin, TX, also called Aspen Heights.
Code violations obtained by the Channel 4 I-Team show four units in the Aspen Heights apartments in Murfreesboro have been cited for failing to maintain the minimum temperature of 65 degrees.
Tuesday morning, an MTSU student living in one of those units sent the Channel 4 I-Team a photograph of herself holding a thermostat in her downstairs apartment. The photo shows the temperature is 58 degrees.
That student's mother, Alison Stevens, says her daughter had no choice but to live with her during the month of January.
"During the cold months of January and December, this apartment was freezing," Stevens said.
"The lower part of their houses don't warm up at all," said Ingrid Rowland, whose son lives in one of the units.
In Columbia, MO, three of the units in the Aspen Heights apartments have been cited by codes for failing to maintain the minimum standards for heat. The codes department ordered the owners of the complex to provide temporary heat.
The NBC affiliate in Columbia, MO, was there last week when codes inspectors showed up to determine the apartments were simply too cold.
"Our students are all in the exact same models," Rowland said.
The general manager of the Murfreesboro apartments sent an mail to Stevens' daughter, stating that they have identified a wiring issue and that they are working to better understand how the issue may have occurred.
That manager told the Channel 4 I-Team over the phone the problems cited by codes have been fixed. But, again, Stevens' daughter sent us a photo of the thermometer reading 58 degrees.
The parents in both Murfreesboro and Columbia, MO, are wondering how apartments owned by one company in two different states are experiencing the same problems.
"We're just asking for Aspen Heights to do the right thing," Rowland said.
The other issue in the units in Murfreesboro is that the students say it is warm upstairs, but not downstairs.
The general manager of the Murfreesboro apartment provided the Channel 4 I-Team with a statement that was also sent to residents:
"The city of Murfreesboro was asked to inspect several homes at Aspen Heights. The goal was to determine if our HVAC systems were functioning properly and heating at required levels. We are happy to report that nearly all inspected homes passed yet a few did not. This occurs at times and in our case involved four homes. We responded within 2 hours of receiving notice from the city, and addressed each reported failure and immediately resolved the issue.
"We have conducted audits on additional units which were not inspected by the city. We did not find any additional homes to be experiencing this issue. Based on current data, the issue appears to be isolated to only a few homes. Your comfort is important to us. As an additional measure we will be inspecting all homes on our property to ensure temperatures are properly regulated. Our intent is to quickly identify if any other homes are experiencing this issue and to immediately resolve it.
"Many of you have informed us of a temperature disparity between floors. We are taking your feedback very seriously. We have engaged a third party licensed engineer to investigate the issue and determine potential solutions."
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