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The boiler heating Riverside Apartments was replaced and running again Tuesday, and the building’s new management company said tenants who relied upon space heaters to stay warm would be reimbursed for a portion of their electric bill.

Aaron Gingerelli, president of Summit Property Management, said heat had been restored to the two buildings that lost it. The boiler that serves the 30 apartment units went out Nov. 28, just before the property changed hands.

“This property changed ownership at the beginning of December,” said Gingerelli. “Some things weren’t being handled as they should have been, and the new owner didn’t know he was coming into ownership of a building without heat.”

Gingerelli said Summit was hired to manage the property hours after the property changed ownership. When Summit learned that tenants had no heat, it provided space heaters and began the process of replacing the boiler.

“We were there late in the evening and we immediately recognized this was unacceptable that they didn’t have heat,” Gingerelli said. “We provided the supplementary heat and the next day, we solicited a number of bids to replace the boiler.”

But given the age and size of the apartment buildings, Gingerelli said, a replacement boiler couldn’t be found locally. Summit had hoped to have the boiler installed last week, but the truck carrying the heating unit to Montana from the East Coast broke down in Denver.

The shipping company had to move the boiler to a new truck, delaying delivery until Monday.

“It’s a major heating system that heats 30 apartments in two buildings,” Gingerelli said. “It’s a major system that has to be custom built. That was handled as quickly as we possibly could. It was the No. 1 priority.”


Tenants on Monday said the heat had gone off in the buildings several times in the past when Derek Stebner, a Bellingham, Washington-based property owner, owned the building. The number listed for Stebner Real Estate is no longer in service.

Tenants expressed hope that Summit and the property’s new owner will run things differently than the old landlord.

Gingerelli confirmed a new direction in management at Riverside Apartments.

“The new owner is committed to taking care of essential services like this, and over time, renovating the interior of these apartments and making it a much nicer place to live,” Gingerelli said. “He’s committed to changing the environment.”

Heat is included in rent at Riverside Apartments, though tenants pay for their electrical usage. Gingerelli said tenants would be partially reimbursed for their electric bill.

He said Summit is working out a formula that’s fair to all involved.

“We recognize that and the owner intends to provide some credit toward the increased electrical usage,” Gingerelli said. “It was a horrendous situation for the tenants and an unpleasant surprise for the new owner.”

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