Updated 01/31/2013 09:24 AM
Residents Of UWS Building Say Management Broke Locks On Their Apartment Doors
Some Upper West side residents said their privacy was violated when housing officials broke into their homes to do some electrical work, and while housing authority representatives said they'll make it up to the residents involved, the work must continue. NY1's Mahsa Saeidi filed the following report.
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Maria Depas, a resident of the Douglass Houses on the Upper West Side, said that while she was away on a trip, management broke the lock to her apartment to conduct electrical repairs.
Depas showed NY1 the new lock she had installed on her door.
"They shouldn't break into apartments," Depas said. "They shouldn't have that authority to break into people's apartments like that. We are human beings. We pay rent. We're not dogs. Why would they do that?"
She wasn't alone. At least two other residents told NY1 a similar story.
In the hallways, NY1 found notifications posted alerting residents to the upgrade, as well as the days and hours that contractors would need access to apartments. The flyers, which were not dated, stated that failure to provide access will force the New York City Housing Authority to use their right of entry as stated in the lease.
"That's an invasion of my privacy," said Judith Smith, a resident of the building. "I have private things in my house."
A NYCHA representative said the electrical upgrade project began last November and will take several more months to complete.
What remains unclear is how much notice each resident was given about the work. Some residents said they had two weeks' notice. Others said they got word only one day prior.
"They need to find a way to get this job done in one or two days, or they need to work around work people's schedule," said Ebony Mayes, a resident of the building. "Either come in early or make Saturday appointments."
Mayes was at a meeting Wednesday night, put on by Douglass Houses Management to discuss this issue.
"They just wanted to hear the concerns, but the meeting was ended abruptly, I guess because NY1 was there and obviously, there's something to hide," Mayes said.
Residents who attended the meeting said they understood that work needed to be done but said they could not be home during the days and hours listed.
A housing authority spokesperson said that they are making arrangements to reimburse the renters, but said the work must continue.