Westport man frustrated by lack of help from property managers after finding leaking gas in apartment

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Cory Hardman was forced to find somewhere to stay Tuesday night other than his Westport apartment after a technician found a big problem.

"When the technician from Spire was leaving, she's like, 'You're lucky to be alive. You're lucky this has not exploded, and you're lucky this got caught before it turned really bad,'" he said.

Hardman woke up, smelled gas in his kitchen and called his apartment management. He left a voicemail but didn't hear back, so he called the gas company.

"They were out here within 10 minutes," he said. "When she immediately opened my HVAC system, she was like, 'Oh, wow.'"

The emergency notices now in place show leaking gas, damaged piping and improper installation.

"Not to code. That the whole setup was not to code," Hardman said.

Spire immediately turned off the gas -- no hot water, no central heat. Hardman went to Celtic Property Management.

"He responded with, 'I have nine units out of heat right now. I'll add you to this list,'" Hardman said of his conversation with the company. "I'm like, 'This is more than just a heat issue. There's carbon monoxide. There's a lot more going on,' and he walked off."

Hardman left feeling dismissed.

"I left with the impression that it wasn't really a big deal to them," he said. "It wasn't a huge concern. We'll bring you some space heaters."

He told maintenance to use the space heaters for someone else since he had his own but to please have someone call.

"It's been three hours almost now, and I've heard nothing from anybody in the company," he said Tuesday.

So he called again -- and was almost told it wasn't the company's problem.

"We didn't install your furnace," a Celtic Property Management employee said via phone. "So whoever installed it before we took over, but you guys now took over, and it's your responsibility."

The company agreed to send maintenance by -- the same thing they had already promised earlier Tuesday morning.

The employee said they would take care of it. When Hardman asked when, the employee said they'd check with maintenance.

Rent for some of the apartment complex's units is listed online for more than $900.

Without heat or hot water, Hardman opted to stay somewhere else Tuesday night.

Fox 4 talked with an attorney Tuesday, who offered suggestions for what to do if you find yourself in a similar situation.

  • Document everything including emails and phone calls.
  • Talk with your landlord about what's going on.
  • If you're not getting anywhere, talk with a lawyer to see where you stand.

Fox 4 went by the Celtic office, called and emailed but has not heard back.