HONOLULU (KHON2) — It has now been nearly three months since the lone elevator in a Waikiki apartment building broke down, and still no sign of getting it fixed. The problem is getting the attention of an advocacy group, which plans to file a complaint with a federal housing agency.
Residents said the elevator at the 10-story apartment building called Waikiki Walina Apartments has been down since April. Several tenants have moved out.
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“Most of the people that have moved out have had to leave their furniture — their own furniture that they paid for, and their personal belongings behind,” said resident Lily Buder.
Walking with crutches due to a torn ligament, Buder has barely left her apartment. 10th-floor resident Lorraine Sult said she has rheumatoid arthritis, which makes each trip painful.
“It’s been extremely difficult. I find myself in a lot of pain regularly and I feel like I’ve addressed this issue to management and there’s been really no care it seems like,” said Sult.
Hawaii Disability Rights Center said federal law requires building management to provide reasonable accommodations.
“Relocating somebody to a hotel if necessary, relocating somebody to — this company apparently manages a number of properties, maybe they have a vacant unit somewhere else with an elevator,” said Lou Erteschik, executive director of HDRC.
Erteschik said he will file a complaint with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. He said under the Fair Housing Act, building management needs to do more.
“We are gonna submit formal requests for specific accommodations and also demand that they sit down and discuss these with us immediately,” Erteschik said.
Residents have said they should at least get a discount on the rent after all the money they have spent on delivery services.
“For having to do grocery delivery, more food delivery, Uber Eats, having the drivers actually come up the stairs to meet me,” said Buder.
“We’re paying to live in a building that has an elevator,” said Sult. “We haven’t been able to use that elevator for almost three months now, and they’ve explicitly said that they’re not going to provide us any sort of concession.”
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Erteschik said a rent discount should also be offered to residents. Building management has refused to comment.