Students experience heating issues at Latitude Apartments

Latitude+Apartments%2C+located+on+University+Avenue%2C+leaves+many+of+its+residents+to+deal+with+heating+issues.+

Sidney Malone

Latitude Apartments, located on University Avenue, leaves many of its residents to deal with heating issues.

By Madison Holcomb, Staff Writer

Latitude Apartments, located at 608 E. University Ave. in Champaign, has been receiving a number of unanswered requests and issues from residents, with the most recent problems being residents’ heating units breaking. 

Ze Yang, a resident of Latitude and senior in engineering, moved into their apartment on Feb. 1. However, the heating unit was broken when they got there, and Yang said that according to the previous resident, the heat had been out for over two weeks, even after submitting a maintenance request. 

“I just moved in and had the problem of no heat,” Yang said. “The days of me tossing and turning left me physically and mentally exhausted with negative impressions on my body and my studies.” 

Later that night, after repeatedly trying to get help from Latitude staff, Yang took their problems to the mayor of Champaign, the state department and staff at the University. The mayor got back to them, and after discussions with University departments and Latitude, Yang was offered a heated room the next day, and the heating of their original apartment was fixed within two days. 

At times, it takes days, weeks or even months for parts of the HVAC system to be fixed, even if a resident has already reported the problem, according to Yang and other residents at Latitude. 

“The main reason for the delay is parts are difficult to purchase with the state of our economy,” said Kristin Fodrie, regional director of Latitude. This is an issue for everyone in housing throughout the country. We are working with our third-party vendor to overcome these issues as quickly as possible.” 

Yang discussed with their friends at Latitude the problems they encountered. Multiple other residents shared similar issues. 

“I learned from other Asian tenants who live in Latitude that the same thing happened last year, and the heating was not fixed until the end of their contracts,” Yang said. 

According to Fodrie, Latitude uses a Daikin system, which is a new technology that allows for temperature control. 

“Due to this technology being new, we have to troubleshoot with our out-of-state third-party vendor if there are problems with the system,” Fodrie said. “Some of the issues have required the vendor to visit the site, and this must be scheduled with them being in Missouri.”

Zhao Kaiting, a resident at Latitude since 2019 and senior in Business, also experienced a lack of heat. 

My HVAC was down and my room stayed at a freezing temperature for almost two days,”  Kaiting said. “I called the front office and the word they told me was ‘There are no extra heaters now. You could go out and buy one and (Latitude) could give $25 cashback.’”

Kaiting also had problems with mold in their apartment after coming back from break. After requesting assistance, Kaiting could not receive time-efficient help from staff.

“I had filed the maintenance request at once, and it took almost 20 days to get back to me under this inappropriate living environment that might be harmful to residents’ health,” Kaiting said. “If I did not hire a cleaning team myself, I would’ve stayed in this moldy environment for 20 days.”

Iris Fu, a resident at Latitude and University alumna, had problems with her heat as well, mentioning that her heat was shut down from Jan. 21 to Feb. 8, even after contacting staff. 

Fu also brought up how her landlord and maintenance staff would sometimes walk into her apartment without notice and often without masks, causing Fu to feel uncomfortable and endangered for her safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“If I asked them if they could come back later, that request would be refused,” Fu said. 

Several people have left reviews for Latitude on Google, stating problems of their heat being off for days and sometimes weeks in the winter without any assistance from the company. 

Reviews also mention more problems with Latitude’s maintenance and managing staff, citing problems with unfixed HVAC systems, staff entering without permission and unsafe actions by Latitude employees regarding COVID-19.

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