Broken Elevator

WSVN — If you want to get in shape and live in a condo, run up and down eight or 10 flights of stairs a day. If you are elderly or sick, going up those stairs for days, weeks, is dangerous or simply impossible, so residents in one South Florida condo are calling Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

I always enjoying going to meet people for a Help Me Howard, but climbing seven flights of stairs to get there is not the highlight of the day.

Marcalla Parker: “It’s just down, both of the elevators.”

Patrick Fraser: “No elevator?”

Marcalla Parker: “No elevator at all.”

Marcalla lives at Parkway Towers, an eight-story building with two elevators that haven’t worked in several weeks.

Marcalla Parker: “It feels like a prison. One time I felt like I had claustrophobia.”

It’s not just inconvenient; it’s dangerous. Marcalla moved here to be near her mother, who lives on the fifth floor.

Jannie recently had a stroke. Her doctor needs to treat her but…

Jannie Mae: “I can’t go to the doctor ’cause the elevator is not working.”

On the walk to Jannie’s condo we saw a fellow struggling to get around with his walker. He told us he needed to go down from the fifth floor but could not.

Parkway Tower resident: “I can’t do it.”

Patrick Fraser: “You can’t do it?”

Parkway Tower resident: “No, I am 93.”

Marcalla isn’t elderly like many other residents at Parkway Towers, and had to go up and down the stairs the day before because of her bone cancer.

Patrick Fraser: “So you went and had chemo yesterday?”

Marcalla Parker: “I did get down.”

Patrick Fraser: “And then you came and had to climb seven flights of stairs.”

Marcalla Parker: “I had to come back up. I took my time. It was stressful. Fifth floor, I am out of breath.”

An eight-story building with eight flights of steps, dozens of residents, stuck by two elevators with a sign on them that says, “Out of service for scheduled maintenance.” The residents know that’s a lie.

Marcalla Parker: “It’s bad. Sorry for crying, but it’s bad for the people in this building.”

Well, Howard, the residents are being told the association doesn’t have the money to fix the elevators, so can the building just basically strand the residents without an elevator?

Howard Finkelstein: “There are federal, state and county laws that in one way or the other prohibit this from happening to the residents. But the laws are an illusion, because if an association doesn’t have the money to fix an elevator, you can fine the association, you can sue them, but that won’t get the elevators running because they don’t have the money to pay for it.”

I then called the management company for Parkway Towers. The attorney for Infinity Community Management told me they just took over at Parkway and are working to straighten out the financial issues to get things running smoothly.

I then spoke to Mike Chavis, at Miami-Dade County’s Elevator Safety and Regulation. He was aware of broken elevators at Parkway Towers, and said he had just given them a notice: 48 hours or else.

He told me one elevator needed new bearings and the other needed a new motor, but that the association didn’t have the money to pay for both repairs.

But money didn’t matter for one day. Chavis told me he had spoken to ThyssenKrupp Elevator Americas, who has a contract with Parkway Towers. They came out that day and replaced the motor in one elevator. They didn’t get paid that day, but they were going to bill Parkway Towers the $11,000 for the elevator repair.

Marcalla Parker: “I can go up and down to help my mother prepare her breakfast and dinner.”

Marcalla can go check on her mother and finally get her to the doctor. She is happy.

Marcalla Parker: “And I really appreciate you guys. I thank you very much. I thank you. You are my hero, and God bless you,”

Glad it worked out for Marcalla and the other residents. Now, if an association doesn’t have the money for repairs, they can issue a special assessment to fix something, but many residents at Parkway Towers can’t pay that. Or the association can try to borrow the money if they have decent credit. Of course, an association can avoid this by keeping money in reserves. Hopefully for the Parkway residents’ sake, their new management company and new board can straighten things out.

Going up and down and getting nowhere? Ready to elevate yourself? Let us assess it. We aren’t great with a wrench, but hopefully you will be soaring after we walk away.

With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Report a problem with elevator in Miami-Dade
Http://www.Miamidade.Gov/internalservices/report-a-problem.Asp

Broward elevator problem
Http://www.Broward.Org/permittingandlicensing/elevators/pages/reportinganaccidentorproblem.Aspx

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
E-mail: helpmeHoward@wsvn.com (please include your contact phone number when e-mailing)
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN