Tenants claim landlord broke into apartment overnight, heat still not on

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by Matt Doyle

MUSKEGO -- The tenants say they've been without heat for days.  The landlord hasn't fixed the problem even though he apparently broke into the apartments this morning to try and stop the pipes from freezing.

"When we came in, it was all open, the chains on the floor, the screw is broke off," Sherri Sievert said Wednesday.

Sievert rents an apartment for her daughter at a complex in Muskego near Woods Road and Racine Avenue.  She says Wednesday morning the landlord came by unannounced...

"He broke into my apartment."

Sievert locked the doors to her apartment Tuesday night when she left.  When she came by to get her car this morning, she saw locks were broken.

"We noticed that doorknobs and locks were removed. The screw that we had screwed the door shut with was broken in half. The chains ripped off. The door was broken.

The water in her kitchen and bathroom was running.  She thinks the landlord turned it on to prevent the pipes from freezing.

Muskego Police are involved and  might give the landlord a municpal citation for criminal trespassing. But they want his side of the story.

"He's sneaking around. He's hiding his car in the garage."

Code violations started in October.  The city ordered the landlord to fix problems with the heating system, electrical service, and toilets.  At that time he did -  but now the same problems are back.

"Haven't heard any response back."

City Development Director Jeff Muenkel says tenants are the odd ones out in these situations.

"The city can only do so much," Muenkel said.  "You notify that they are in non-compliance, issue citations, levy fines, but the tenants are unfortunately stuck until the owner does do something."

The tenants are moving out - but want their $1000 security deposit back.

"The guy's taken us through the ringer. He's never done anything he said he was going to do, he never fixed anything he said he was going to do."

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