Apartment complex changes utility policy - WNEM TV 5

ASKING TOUGH QUESTIONS

Apartment complex changes utility policy

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SAGINAW COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

As winter approaches, a few local apartment tenants are learning they'll have to start footing the bill, if they want to stay warm.

Tenants at Green Acres Village Apartments in Saginaw Township were told some utilities would no longer be covered by their rent.

"I wasn't exactly thrilled," said tenant Jeremy Wright.

Wright found out he'll have to pay for heat starting January 1.

"I signed a lease agreement saying that I had a year with them paying my utilities other than my electric," Wright said.

A lot of residents are upset about having cough up dough to stay warm this winter.

On the complex's website it clearly states free heat, gas, and water provided. So why the change? We went to the management office to ask the tough questions.

The apartment’s staff refused to answer TV5’s tough questions, even when it was pointed out to them on their website that they are currently advertising free heat.

TV5 were told to leave the property and told the police had been called.

Millicent Shek is an attorney specializing in landlord tenant matters.

"They induce these people by false advertisement into signing a lease," Shek said.

Posing as a potential tenant she called and asked about the free heat.

"Your trash is included and a portion of your water and a portion of your heat," Shek said. "And when I asked what that meant she said that they actually bill back I believe it was sixty percent of the gas and seventy percent of the water. So it's not one hundred percent free like they're telling you."

Shek said there are legal options Green Acres Village residents can pursue.

"They could say that they want to breach their lease and that they didn't get what they bargained for," Shek said. "Or you could go down and make a citizen's complaint with the prosecutor's office or your local police department. Because there is actually a statute on point for false advertisement and it is a crime in the state of Michigan."

Wright said he plans to meet with management. He said he wants them to do, what he believes, is the right thing for all the tenants here.

"I'm hoping that they at least keep true to their lease agreement and at least through the first year keep it to where they pay the normal utilities and I pay my electric," Wright said. "After that if they want to change it it's a new lease fine."

At this point the tenants have two choices: stay and pay, or pursue a legal path.

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