‘We have not been heated at all:’ Austin apartment without heat, hot water, working stoves on Thanksgiving

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AUSTIN (KXAN) – A day before one of the coldest days of the year in Austin, Jazmyn Bencik was still without heat, hot water or a working stove.

The North Austin apartment complex where Bencik lives had been without natural gas for nearly two weeks. She hoped the gas could be turned on before Thanksgiving, but the day came and went – and supply was never restored.

Bencik and her neighbors were still unsure why the gas was off at all.

“I have this little space heater, but I want to take a hot shower and do something,” said Bencik’s neighbor Brandi Ware below.

The apartment complex, Ashford Costa Azure at Rutland Dr., was shut down by the Texas Gas Service on November 13th. The plant was called out due to the smell of gas – and discovered at least one gas leak in the pipes. The spokesman was not sure if more leaks had been found.

“We’ve been on site since early this morning, working with the city of Austin to restore service where possible,” said Christy Penders, a spokeswoman for the Texas Gas Service. “Some of the buildings have not yet passed the city inspection, so we can not restore the service to that building.”

The leak must be repaired by the complex and then inspected by both the city and the gas service before a building can get the gas turned on again. But in the meantime, inspectors said the complex still needed to make sure tenants had hot water and heat.

Records show that Austin’s code inspectors arrived at the complex a week after the gas was shut down on November 17 – and cited the complex three times in order not to supply hot water, stoves and heat. Inspectors recommended the complex temporarily provide the services while repairs and inspections took place.

But people living on the complex say no alternatives have been offered.

“So they’re supposed to do it?” said Ware. “They do not care. It’s almost the whole property. I think it’s the whole property there [doesn’t] have any gas. “

“We did not get any kind of alternative from the management company and we have no heat because it is also gas,” Bencik said.

The apartment complex is owned by Houston-based Ashford Meadows Edge LP. Workers inside the leasing office said they had “no comments” on the gas leak and messages to the owners of the complex have not been returned.

The latest case is not the first or only violation the complex has received from the city of Austin. The apartment is listed on the city’s list of repeat offenders, which means it has multiple code violations dating back to 2014.

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