City issues 27 citations to Newport News apartment complex for lack of AC


NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Residents at the Aqua Vista Apartments are demanding answers from their property manager about a lack of air conditioning in dozens of units throughout the complex.

“I’m going hard for my son and for this community,” said Eternity Barnes, who has been without air since April. “It’s sad.”

Barnes says the property manager, who she identified as “Jim,” locked the doors at the rental office on Tuesday morning when residents outside started protesting. In a Facebook Live video, residents were emotional and vented their frustrations to 10 On Your Side’s Joe Fisher.

Vernell Woods, a codes and compliance inspector, tells he showed up to investigate shortly after receiving a complaint. He says “Jim” asked him to leave. 

“Management wasn’t very cooperative,” said Woods. “They asked us to leave and were very unprofessional.”

By Tuesday afternoon, the city had cited Aqua Vista with 27 separate violations for each unit they failed to maintain the air conditioning.

Harold Roach, director of codes and compliance, says state property maintenance code requires all air conditioners be operable between May and October. 

“We pay our rent on time,” said Barnes. “I just feel like we need a little respect out here.”

Temperatures on Tuesday were forecast to reach the mid-90s, with a heat index in the low 100s. A heat advisory was issued for much of region through Tuesday evening.

“Jim” declined to comment when 10 On Your Side tracked him down, but he said ‘Yes, of course,’ when asked if he understands residents’ concerns. 

A spokeswoman for the Department of Housing and Urban Development tells they didn’t know about the issues at Aqua Vista until 10 On Your Side’s report. The department says Aqua Vista is working to get the air fixed and they will track the progress. 

City officials say the first of the replacement air conditioning units should arrive Wednesday. All the work is expected to be completed in two weeks. 

In the meantime, Aqua Vista is providing hotel rooms to affected residents. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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