MANCHESTER — More than 30 apartments housing low-income tenants and seniors have been without heat since Nov. 5, when the boiler that heats a Beech Hill Avenue building broke.
“Unfortunately, when a boiler needs to be replaced, it’s not a quick turnaround,” said Naftali Levenbrown, a representative of the Beech Hill NH, LLC. The company owns 178-220 Beech Hill Ave., and two dozen other apartment buildings.
Levenbrown said a new boiler has been ordered and paid for, and that 70 space heaters have been distributed to the residents.
Residents say they are getting tired of waiting for heat. One said she called the city building department Wednesday to make a complaint.
She did not wish to identify herself, because she feared retaliation from her landlord, but said she was growing frustrated, after 10 days of using space heaters.
“It’s a situation I would consider an emergency if I owned the building,” she said. The space heaters were keeping her apartment warm enough, she said, but she worried about a heater starting a fire.
She said the complex’s residents — many of them seniors and immigrants, she said — seemed reluctant to speak out for fear of jeopardizing their affordable housing.
David Albin, who leads the building department’s code enforcement division, said an inspector visited the building on Thursday. He said residents were not sure what the problem was — notes taped inside the building’s doors just say the heat is out, and give a number to call to get a space heater.
The space heaters are keeping the apartments warm, said resident Jim McCormack, who has lived in the building for three years. But he’s been sleeping in the living room, so he can keep watch over the heater at night.
McCormack said the property managers have been harder to reach of late, and it has become harder to get problems fixed.
He’s also frustrated, he said, because heat is included in the monthly rent.
Another resident, who also did not wish to be named for fear of retaliation, said she has taken to sleeping in her living room, so she can keep an eye on the space heater.
“I’ve been relegated to one room,” she said. “It’s gone on too long.”