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Call Kurtis: My Apartment Complex Won’t Open the Pool

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Eight-time Emmy Award winner Kurtis Ming is CBS13's consumer...
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CARMICHAEL (CBS13) — During scorching Northern California summers, it’s nice to have a pool around to cool off.

But Jennifer Lacey was steamed.

“We can’t go in the water,” she said. “It makes me feel like I was tricked.”

The brochure at Cypress Point, where Lacey lives, lists a pool, among several other amenities.

But rattling the locked pool gate is the closest her neighbors have been able to get to the water.

“It’s very much false advertisement,” said Lacey, who signed a 12-month lease in December.

“Oh, man,” tenant Jeanette Reed said, shaking her head, “it’s almost unexplainable.”

Call Kurtis has learned the pool at Cypress Point has been closed at least two years. Sacramento County inspection reports from 2011 and 2012 show it may be closer to four years.

Tenant Dennis Holmes said his wife wanted to move into Cypress Point because of its pool.

“It’s ridiculous,” he said.

A faded notice the county posted last July indicates the pool was closed over a “suction hazard” — which required replacing the drain cover according to owner Mike Sanwal.

Lacey said Sanwal promised to repair and re-open the pool — but no luck yet.

“Seriously, you just want to jump the fence,” said Lacey, whose apartment door opens up to a panorama of the pool.

California law allows tenants to withhold rent for problems threatening health or safety, such as “plumbing blockages,” “lack of any heat,” or “continued presence of rats, mice and cockroaches” — as long as the tenant didn’t cause the problem, and the landlord has a reasonable amount of time to fix it.

Closed swimming pools, however, aren’t included in that law.

Attorney Mitch Abdallah said if renters are promised a pool when they move in, and it’s never fixed — it’s violating a contract.

He thinks Lacey should get a discount on her rent — or be able to break her lease agreement.

“He has a duty to repair,” Abdallah said. “She’s not getting the benefit of the bargain. She’s not able to use that pool.”

“My front door — every time I open it, there’s the pool,” Lacey said. “I think it makes it harder having to stare at it.”

Sanwal told Call Kurtis he was waiting on a county inspector and for a contractor to make the fix, but then promised to replace the drain cover right away, so tenants can finally have access to the pool.

Sanwal provided CBS13 a written proposal to repair the pool, issued by a contractor April 29 before Call Kurtis contacted him. He said the contractor planned to repair the pool Saturday, July 28. He will then ask the county to inspect his pool before he can reopen it, he said.

He blamed the county for the pool being closed the last two years — saying he didn’t know what needed repair unless they came out to inspect first.

“The county inspectors are not available to inspect the pool so far,” he said in a email statement. “We have tried to contact the county supervisors, managers and other officials many times, they don’t return my calls, and still haven’t sent an inspector out to inspect the pool.”

“The few residents that have complained are delinquent in their rent payments most of the time,” he said. “We are not advertising the pool, and we have advised all tenants and prospective tenants of the pool situation with the county.”

Lacey — who Sanwal said had not been late paying rent — still plans to move when her lease ends.

“It shouldn’t have taken all of this, it shouldn’t have,” Lacey said.

Sanwal said he doesn’t have an obligation to refund his tenants or offer future discounts for their time without access to the pool.

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