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Landlords refuse to fix broken heat

DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) -- The Rescue Mission has saved at least five renters from freezing homes in the past week.

The director says he's gotten call after call from neighbors, friends, even churches asking him to pull people from their homes because they don't have any heat. In every case, the renter was elderly or low income and had asked the landlord for help to no avail.

"It broke my heart," said Danville Mission Director Danny Offett. "When it gets below zero you can just have one of those little space heaters to heat you up."

But when your landlord won't fix your furnace, what else can you do? That's why Offett has picked five renters up from freezing homes.

"We had to get someone on a house on Collette street, we had to get somebody out of a house in Fairchild, we had to go Harvey street and we had to go on Griffin Street and we had to go on Moore Street." 

Offett says each rescue was emotional because the people were in such bad shape.  

"This lady was bright red. She was like freezing. She was so happy she just cried. And the ladies were crying, and I was crying."

Danville city officials say it's a code violation for a landlord to let the heat fall below 65 degrees without trying to fix it, so renters should file a complaint as soon as that becomes the case. In the meantime, Offett has a solution of his own.

"I'm telling you anyone who don't have heat, you are more than welcome in the Danville Rescue Mission. You might not have a bed cause we ran out of beds, but you'll have a mat."

So for those of you in Danville who need to make a complaint, you'll do it through the city's code enforcement office at 431-2332. They'll then fine landlord and force them to make changes.

And this isn't just a problem in Danville. Many cities have building inspectors you should contact if this is happening to you. Smaller towns usually don't, so we reached out to some village mayors. They say you can call the village or the police, and they'll see what they can do to help.


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