Thursday, September 18, 2014

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NY1 For You: Fed Up Washington Heights Residents Without Heat Turn To NY1 For Help

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With the holidays here, some Washington Heights tenants are fed up with eating out because their building has no gas. They turned to NY1 For You for help. Susan Jhun filed the following report.

After going without heat, hot water and gas since August, residents of a Washington Heights building finally got their heat and hot water back the day before Thanksgiving. But their troubles didn't end there.

“It's a nightmare,” said tenant Violet Marrero Portuondo. “We're still without gas and it's gonna be almost four months now."

“It's very challenging,” said tenant Ray Munoz.

Tenants say the landlord posted signs back in August that there was a leak and water and gas would be shut off to fix it, but since then no information has been given.

“Every time you call the office to give a complaint, any kind of complaint, he only has the secretary, the secretary [says], 'Oh let me have your name and number' and they never bother to call,” said Portuondo.

In the meantime, tenants say they're paying for the huge inconvenience in more ways than one.

“I've had to buy crockpots, rice pots, everything to be able to cook and our Con Edison has been very high, all of us, because we have no gas,” said tenant Tanya Perez.

NY1 called the landlord for comment but did not hear back. An HPD spokesman said the agency's Emergency Repair Program was responsible for repairing the building’s heat and hot water in late November and has spent over $30,000 in the last nine years making emergency repairs to the building.

The HPD spokesman went on to say that HPD has issued violations to the landlord for lack of gas and the agency has been monitoring the landlord’s progress while the entire building is being re-piped.

Tenants say the process is taking too long and this year, their holidays have not been filled with cheer.

“Santa Clause isn't coming,” Munoz said.

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