Tenants say A/C banned by landlord despite record heat wave


By Anita Kissee KATU News and KATU.com Staff

ALOHA, Ore. – As people around the region try to keep cool and safe in the triple-digit heat wave, tenants at one apartment complex in Aloha say they have been told not to install air conditioning units in their windows.

One stated reason tenants said they were given by the landlord: they look “tacky.”

That’s what tenants at the Arbor Creek complex in Aloha told KATU News on Wednesday as the temperature soared to 106 degrees in Portland, just one degree shy of the all-time high for the city.

But in outlying locations like Aloha, some thermometers were reading 107 or even 108 degrees.

Inside Jessica Burnette’s apartment, a thermometer registered 95 degrees. Nearby, Shanna Frettim said she got a note from the landlord telling her to remove her window unit or she could be evicted.

“They sent me notices telling me if I did not take it out I would have a ten day period to get out of my apartment,” Frettim said.

“As a matter of fact, on these notices it says ‘for the benefits of the residences,’” Frettim added. “I am wondering how that ‘benefits the residents’ when they can't have air conditioners.  How does that benefit us? Our kids end up in the hospitals or they end up sick.”

A check of the rental agreements and property rules supplied by tenants by contained no mention of a ban on A/C window units.

Frettim said she was told that if she wanted A/C, she had to have it professionally installed at a cost of about $500, which she says she cannot afford.

Another tenant who wanted to remain anonymous installed an unauthorized window unit in a back bedroom. The temperature in the room dropped from the 90s to a comfortable 74 degrees in minutes after the machine was turned on.

Tenant Angela Powell installed a window unit in her apartment against the alleged regulations because she said she could find no rule or stipulation prohibiting it.

Calls to the property management company that runs the Arbor Creek complex went to voice mail and no calls were immediately returned. Emails have also not been answered.

A maintenance person who works on the property was reached by phone but declined to say where the rule banning A/C units could be found or who could help tenants and KATU News find the stipulation.

“How can they make up rules we didn't sign on?” Jessica Burnett asked. “People die in this weather… our kids are up all night complaining of tummy aches and stuff because they're heat sick.”

Neighbors claimed one child has already been hospitalized with heat stroke.

Burnett said she does not have health insurance.

KATU News is continuing an investigation related to this story.

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