Call Collett: Working mom without working fridge for three weeks

When Christine Miller moved into a new home, a rental property on James Island, one of the perks was new appliances.

She invited Count on 2 investigator Rebecca Collett to her home, which she says she hopes to better utilize.

“This is the brand new refrigerator that has never been used,” Miller said, opening the doors of the appliance.

The Millers can’t use the fridge. It won’t cool. They notified the rental company on January second, and they expected a quick solution.

“A fridge isn’t a luxury item,” Miller explained.

But she’s been without one for weeks.  The January snow storm prohibited anyone from making the house call the first week Christine noticed the problem. So during those cold days, she put perishable foods on the porch and waited.   Now what’s left of those perishables sit in coolers and fill a mini fridge provided by the rental company, Daniel Ravenel Real Estate.

“For a family of three this is not working,” she said.   Not having a refrigerator means she has to shop for meals every day, because she has nowhere to store groceries.  As a working mom, it’s been an extra strain on an already busy parent, she told News 2.  It’s also been expensive since she can’t shop in bulk.

Count on 2 took her concerns to Daniel Ravenel Real Estate.

“My understanding is that it’s the compressor that’s defective,” Real Estate agent Edgar Mitchell explained.

Mitchell blamed the delay of getting a new fridge on the manufacturer.  He also said the warranty isn’t being honored.

“We are very sorry this happened. We don’t like to see this happen, but we are doing everything we can to fix this problem,” he explained.

For Christine, the only acceptable fix would be a full size second fridge until the rental company works out the warranty.

And it’s her right to have one.

Under the state law, landlords must provide running water, both hot and cold, and heat. Electric, gas, plumbing, sanitation, and ventilation are also legal requirements. Appliances, including elevators, must be kept in working condition.  Air conditioning is only required if there is a system already in place when a tenant moves into a property. Under the law, landlords must make all repairs and do whatever is reasonably necessary to put and keep the premises in a “fit and habitable” condition.  Landlords are required to make sure appliances are working or fixed in a timely manner.

“Three weeks is long enough,” Christine told News 2.

After News 2 exposed the problem, the Millers got a new refrigerator.    Daniel Ravenel Real Estate paid for a new, temporary fridge which was delivered the day we spoke with the Millers.

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