Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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NY1 For You: Some Far Rockaway Residents Fight To Get Back Rent Paid Without Basic Services After Sandy

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Most tenants left without heat and electricity from Hurricane Sandy did not pay rent for the time they were without these essential services, but for a number of Far Rockaway residents, that was not the case. Now, months later, they are still fighting to get rent back they feel they never should have had to pay. NY1's Susan Jhun filed the following report.

They went without heat or electricity for most of November because of Hurricane Sandy, but even so, tenants at Wavecrest Apartments in the Far Rockaway section of Queens still had to pay rent.

"There was no hot water. There was no heat," said Kye Weaver, a tenant of the Wavecrest Apartments. "And these are things that are on the website saying that this is what Wavecrest provides, and they weren't able to provide it. So why should we pay for times they can't provide what they said they can?"

"The bottom line of it, whether or not it's one cent or $500, I think that this is something that the landlord needed to address with the tenants," said Barbara Simpson, a tenant of the Wavecrest Apartments.

NY1 contacted Pelican Management for Wavecrest back in January when our first story aired, and a spokesperson refused to comment. NY1 then spoke with Tenants and Neighbors, a tenants' rights organization.

"Tenants should not be paying rent when they're not getting heat, when they're not getting electricity, when their basic services are not being provided," said Sam Stein of Tenants and Neighbors.

Now, months later, as some tenants are going to court to settle the matter, others are fuming that they've heard no word from management. NY1 called Pelican again but hasn't heard back.

Stein from Tenants and Neighbors advised tenants in this type of situation to file a "Reduction In Services" complaint with New York State Homes and Community Renewal. For more information, visit www.nyshcr.org.

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