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Tenants at Milwaukee apartment building say they've gone two weeks without hot water

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Tenants at one Milwaukee apartment building say they have gone two weeks without hot water. Now Property management says it could be almost another two weeks before it is fixed.

More than 250 people live in the apartment building known as the Royal Plaza at 1725 North Prospect Avenue. The building is managed by Ogden & Company.

Tenants said Tuesday that it's unfair they are being expected to go three and a half weeks without taking a hot shower or running a load of laundry in hot water.

City officials say it's also against the building code to allow a residence to go without hot water for a long period of time.

Legally 'hot water' is described as an essential service for tenants. Some people living at Royal Plaza say they are upset building management has not given more frequent updates since their boilers failed.

"I have to go to the gym every day to take a shower which I don't really like to do. So there's a lot of older people in the building that don't have that privilege," one tenant said.

"And it's not even lukewarm. It's ice cold like the lake," she continued.

"You know, my girlfriend lives here and she's been having to do laundry at my house," another person said. "Luckily I live close by so she can take showers at my house or do the laundry at my house. But, you know, a lot of people aren't that fortunate to have someone in the area. It's just unfortunate."

On Monday a sign went up in the building saying it would be another ten days before a planned fix. Some tenants say their questions have been ignored.

Doug Saugstad, property manager for Odgen & Company, says he is responded to calls and emails about the situation. He also says the delay is happening because they can't easily get identical replacement boilers.

"We have to find different boilers and then different pumps for the boilers to adapt to the system in place," Saugstad said.

"Ogden & Company will be reaching out and giving compensation because we do understand the circumstances and we do apologize for the situation and the living conditions the past couple of weeks," Saugstad said.

But details on rent compensation have not been finalized and some tenants say they don't have a lot of trust because of turnover of employees at the building.

"[employees] mentioned they're feeling very overwhelmed. I can understand that. You're at a brand new job. But, you know, when people went to talk to them they were not being friendly. They were shooing us away," one tenant said.

"My husband just puts up with the cold showers and I don't know how he does it," she continued.

The Milwaukee Department of Neighborhood Services says they take complaints like very seriously and add that tenants may have a legal avenue in this situation - because the apartments clearly lose value without hot water.

CBS 58 News is checking to see if any tenant has filed a complaint yet.

The Tenant Resource Center also says that if you are living in Milwaukee without hot water you should give the Department of Neighborhood Services a call at 414-286-2543.

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