Icicles form inside home as family claims landlord ignores problems

Posted at 5:46 PM, Jan 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-05 19:54:08-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Christen Fonteyne said her rental home hasn't had a working furnace all winter.

“Just got worse from there. Got colder. Then the power went out,” Fonteyne told 41 Action News.

Her family of five left the house on New Year’s Eve when even space heaters wouldn’t keep them warm. 

They’ve been paying for a hotel room ever since.

41 Action News visited the home and found it was freezing inside. Icicles formed on the walls and floors, which are the result of burst pipes and a hole in the ceiling.

Fonteyne said their landlord hasn't fixed any of their problems, forcing them to leave the house.

“It’s been leaking water down there. We had a bucket to catch it. We’d always have to dump the bucket. She’s known about that,” Fonteyne said.

The meter box on the side of the house is fried. A KCP&L worker disconnected the wires last week to avoid a fire.

“It’s black. We could have died,” Fonteyne said.

KCP&L told 41 Action News they can’t touch the meter box because they don’t own it, and it’s up to the landlord to take care of it.  

“She said she couldn’t get an electrician ‘cause of the holiday.' It’s been five days since the holidays. Still like this. Still no power, still no heat,” Fonteyne said.

Text messages Fonteyne and her fiancé, Eric, provided us show they’d been complaining about the problems since before the holidays.

The landlord’s response read “First of all, I asked to have a list of what is needed to do the duct work so we can get that done. I have not received any list from you. I gave you a piece of sheetrock from the other house to fix the hole in the ceiling and you said it wouldn’t be enough.”

41 Action News called the landlord, who said she had no idea about the furnace not working until just recently. She said the space heaters the family was using were what caused the meter box to blow. 

We asked about the text messages, and she wouldn’t acknowledge our questions.

She said she’s getting an electrician out to the house, but couldn’t provide a timeline.

Fonteyne said her three boys deserve a warm home, although she said they’re never going to live in that house again, even if the landlord fixes the issues.

“I’m trying not to have a breakdown,” Fonteyne said. “It’s a nightmare.”

On top of the furnace, power, and leaks, the family said they’ve also had to deal with rats.

In a text message, the landlord said she’s never had that complaint before and told the family to get mouse traps.

The family of five has a GoFundMe set up to help with re-housing costs and said they appreciate anyone’s generosity.