Knoxville renters say they've gone without heat for weeks

Knoxville renters say they've gone without heat for weeks

Posted:
Billy and Winnie Draper rent a house on Pearson Avenue in South Knoxville. They say they haven't had proper heat since January 13. Billy and Winnie Draper rent a house on Pearson Avenue in South Knoxville. They say they haven't had proper heat since January 13.
"I think he should come and fix it. If he doesn't, I think we need to find another place," Winnie Draper said. "I think he should come and fix it. If he doesn't, I think we need to find another place," Winnie Draper said.
Landlord Gary Meek says his company, GM Properties, is doing everything they can to help. He says he bought a new heating unit, but he's waiting on the contractors to install it. Landlord Gary Meek says his company, GM Properties, is doing everything they can to help. He says he bought a new heating unit, but he's waiting on the contractors to install it.

By KAYLA STRAYER
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A disabled brother and sister say they've been without heat for nearly a month, and their landlord has yet to fix it.

They rent a house on Pearson Avenue in South Knoxville and they're having to use electric space heaters to get by. 

A 6 News viewer alerted us to this story. She says there's no excuse for the owner to not have fixed it by now.

Billy and Winnie Draper say they haven't had proper heat since January 13.

"I think he should come and fix it. If he doesn't, I think we need to find another place," Winnie Draper said.

"I get frustrated about it," Billy Draper said.

Their neighbor Brandy, who doesn't want her last name mentioned, contacted 6 News looking for answers.

"They had no heat. It was ice cold in the house. I left the house, came back, got the space heaters and took them over there," Brandy said.

Winnie said if her friends hadn't brought the space heaters, she wouldn't have any heat right now.

"I don't feel the issue is with us," said homeowner Gary Meek.

Meek says his company, GM Properties, is doing everything they can to help. He says he bought a new heating unit, but he's waiting on the contractors to install it.

"Yes it's our responsibility and we've accepted that responsibility, and we haven't denied it in any respect, but we're not heat people and we have to wait until the contractors can put them in," Meek said.

Meek says he has about four properties without heat right now. He says they haven't been fixed yet because the cold weather is putting the contractors behind.

"The time under the circumstances has been reasonable. We're doing everything that we possibly can to satisfy the people," Meek said.

Brandy doesn't think so.

"It upsets me, because nobody should be treated like that. When rent is being paid, everything is being done on time, no issues, no hassles from the tenants, why would you do that to them?" Brandy said.

Meeks says the Draper's heat should be back on by Thursday. He says he provides electric heaters for any of his properties that lose heat.

Charity Williams, an attorney with Legal Aid of East Tennessee, says tenants do have certain rights, which are protected by the Landlord and Tenant Act.

Williams says heating problems are considered an essential repair, meaning they should be fixed within 48 hours. In cases similar to this, she recommends the tenants seek an attorney. Legal Aid does offer free help for those who qualify. 

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