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Indy renter with carbon monoxide issues, gas leaks finally gets answers from landlord

A photo of a paper advertising homes to rent. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — When Shane Coomes and his family signed a lease with FirstKey Homes last April, they weren’t expecting all of the issues that followed.

Coomes says there were problems with the stove, fireplace, water heater, and furnace. There were gas leaks and problems with carbon monoxide, which Coomes says sent him to the emergency room.

“My arm was numb to the point where I was scared that I was having a heart attack,” Coomes said. “It’s a huge concern, especially [for the 7-year-old who lives here, because his] room is the closest to the utility room where our furnace and hot water is. And, you know, we had the [carbon monoxide] leaks there and a gas leak up there.” 

Coomes showed I-Team 8 several pages of documents showing his attempts to get things fixed through service companies provided by FirstKey homes. He says he tried for months to get repairs made and got little help from management, all while the various issues caused his utility bill to jump from $300 per month to $525.

“Most of the time, you can’t get ahold of anybody, or you try to talk to the property manager [and they’re] not in the office,” Coomes said.

I-Team 8 reached out to FirstKey Homes on Coomes’ behalf. The company says that since being contacted by I-Team 8, it has worked hard to address all of the issues in the home.

Cashona Rinehart, regional vice president for FirstKeyHomes, gave I-Team 8 the following statement:

“Our standard of excellence begins and ends with our residents’ peace of mind. If we miss the mark, we own it as we did in addressing Mr. Coomes’ requests and using the experience to better our maintenance process.

We fixed the stove and fireplace, and a licensed maintenance technician recently installed a new commercial-brand water heater and flue piping to the furnace and water heater while sealing the entire vent system.

We apologize to Mr. Coomes and his fellow residents, having reimbursed above-average utility charges, covered hotel accommodations for the recent repair, and waived two months’ rent.

We believe in responsive and reliable resident service, and most appreciate Mr. Coomes allowing us to reaffirm that commitment with him.”