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Renter fights the deep freeze inside Westerville town home as furnace remains unfixed

Georgia Peterson said she'd like to take off her jacket and gloves when she comes home. Instead, she and her 21-year-old daughter, whose seven months pregnant, layer up more. (WSYX/WTTE)

WESTERVILLE, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) -- Georgia Peterson said she'd like to take off her jacket and gloves when she comes home. Instead, she and her 21-year-old daughter, whose seven months pregnant, layer up more.

Peterson said her furnace went out last Thursday at the town home she leases at The Villas at Little Turtle in Westerville.

Peterson said she reported it to her property manager, who sent someone to check it out.

"They had the emergency management come over and check it out and they said that it was shot, nothing that they could do," she said.

Property managers have dropped off space heaters as a temporary fix, but the broken furnace remains.

"If I sit here watching tv, it's hats, scarves, gloves, jackets and blankets, because these space heaters just run up my bill," Peterson said.

Peterson signed a year lease on the property in December and shells out more than $1,000 a month for the two bedroom unit.

With additional issues like exposed wiring and windows missing coverings, she has regrets.

"It's been a nightmare" she added.

Columbus attorney Chad Draheim with Artz, Dewhirst & Wheeler LLP, has seen these cases before.

"The law makes it clear in an instance like this with the extreme weather that not having heat is an emergency situation," Draheim said.

He added that if renters have property issues, they should place them in writing and submit to their landlord. He also encourages people obtain a written response and timeline on when the issue can expect to be fixed. He said always keep paying rent on time, even when trying to resolve an issue.

"You can deposit your full rent payment with the escrow department at the Franklin County Municipal Court. You're paying the rent to the courthouse, but the landlord isn't receiving the money," Draheim added.

There are other options.

"The term is "constructive eviction," and that is when the property is uninhabitable that would allow the tenant to void their lease. An uninhabitable situation would be no water, no heat, or infestation" he said.

ABC 6/FOX 28 reached out to the property manager at The Villas at Little Turtle. They declined comment.

A call to the Los Angeles-based attorney that represents the property owner wasn't returned.

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