Thursday, November 27, 2014

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NY1 For You: Renters' Advocates Share How To Cope With Sandy Repairs

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Basic utilities affected by Hurricane Sandy have been largely restored in the city, but lingering storm-related problems almost two months later include broken elevators and exploitive landlords. NY1's Susan Jhun filed the following NY1 For You report.

NY1 For You has heard from many viewers who continue to struggle with their landlord or management company to make necessary repairs from Hurricane Sandy.

In many cases, power, heat and hot water may have returned, but a building's elevator remains out of commission, preventing residents, especially those who are elderly and disabled, from leaving their apartments.

One viewer writes, "My mother lives in Coney Island and STILL cannot get outside after Hurricane Sandy. The complex on West 24th Street's elevator is STILL not working. People have to walk across the roof!"

Sam Stein of the tenant advocacy organization Tenants And Neighbors says reaching tenants in high floors is critical.

"It's a huge problem and the root of the problem is that the elevator controls are in the basement, and so when they were flooded, many times they were damaged," Stein says. "So even if they can get power back, those elevators aren't running."

Stein encourages checking on neighbors in a building where the elevator is not working.

NY1 For You also heard from many who believe their landlord is trying to take advantage of a bad situation.

Stein says if an apartment is unliveable, the tenant has the right to cancel the lease. That is called a "constructive eviction" and it is not the same as a judge ordering an eviction for non-payment.

Tenants and Neighbors has a list of recommendations for protecting tenants in the wake of Sandy. To find out more, call the group at 1-212-608-4320 or visit www.tandn.org.

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