Oklahoma seniors without heat turn up the heat on landlord

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Howard Walk’s bedroom gets the coldest.

He and wife, Mary, both in their 70s, have been living without heat for almost a year.

Howard sleeps on the couch and can’t remember the last time he slept in his own bed.

The Vietnam Veteran can't remember much.

“I have Dementia and it's not helping my Dementia any,” he said.

A lone electric heater hardly gets the job done, and sometimes they use their oven to heat the house.

Since their landlord, Danny Skinner, won’t replace the furnace, they’re now refusing to pay rent and facing eviction.

News 4's In Your Corner team got Skinner on the phone.

He says he's more than happy to meet his tenant's repair demands, but only after he’s made whole, with rent money.

He said he was familiar with the Oklahoma Landlord Tenant Act and admitted he dropped the ball not getting his tenants heat.

“There's no excuse for that,” he added. “I totally agree with you there.”

Heat is an essential service and by Oklahoma law, if your landlord refuses to provide it and there is an imminent threat to your health and safety, you can give written notice, and end your lease and move out immediately.

Skinner tells the In Your Corner team he'll install the new furnace, when he gets around to it.

We told him their needs should be put first.

Right now, Mary and Howard are figuring out what to do next.

Following our conversation with the landlord, he dropped off a second portable heater with the family, and now he's telling them instead of replacing the busted furnace he's going to put in a new window unit.

At this point, Mary and Howard want out.

They went ahead and paid rent and are exploring their options with a Legal Aid attorney. We’ll check back.

Our team urges tenants and landlords to document everything, including phone calls, emails, and notes.

Anyone can access the Oklahoma Landlord Tenant Act online, click here to view.

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