MEMPHIS, Tenn.– Representatives of Serenity Towers at Highland were feeling the heat in Shelby County Environmental Court Wednesday.
Residents at Serenity complained about the air conditioning going out as temperatures reached summertime highs recently. It reportedly forced some residents to sleep in the lobby.
Shelby County Environmental Court Judge Patrick Dandrige expressed his concerns to the staff of the government subsidized high-rise on Wednesday about a lack of air conditioning at the complex.
“You gotta come up with something because I would like to think that this wasn’t a total surprise,” Dandrige said “Somebody should have known something was going bad.”
According to Millennia Companies which manages Serenity, workers were switching the building’s system from heating to cooling on May 18th and discovered a crack in the cooling system’s chiller unit.
Parts have since been ordered and repairs have been scheduled.
We’re also told staff at Serenity set up a cooling station in the lobby, distributed fans, and conducted regular wellness checks.
But Shelby County Assistant DA Michael McCusker visited Serenity and said the lobby was “unbearable” even on a mild day.
“In that lobby area, if they’re going to use that as a cooling area, they at least need to get a lot more in there cause it was suffocating and that was on the first floor on a day when it was 65 degrees out,” McCusker said.
Other alleged issues facing Serenity’s residents including the lack of hot water, toilets backing up, and elevators not working prompted strong remarks from Rep. Antonio Parkinson.
“There are issues at this apartment complex. These issues didn’t just start. They’ve been going on for a very, very long time,” Parkinson said.
Parkinson toured Serenity on Tuesday and called it “terrible stewardship” of taxpayer dollars.
“Ultimately the responsibility is with the owners and the management company that manages these apartments and they…especially if they are receiving federal dollars to subsidize some of these apartments need to be ‘on top of their stuff,'” he said.
The court issued a $1,000 fine against the property’s owners and has set a compliance hearing for May 27th.
In the meantime, we’re told the technicians are expected to begin repair work on the AC unit. They hope to have all the repairs finished in two to three days.