Tenants Deprived of Heat, Gas and Hot Water Fight Back in Court

Brooklyn tenants forced to endure weeks without heat, cooking gas or hot water are fighting back with help from The Legal Aid Society, which is suing the landlords to fix the problems.

Since early October, tenants at two Brownsville apartment buildings – many being senior citizens or having young children – have not had cooking gas. Furthermore, despite the cooling temperatures, many tenants say they have also gone without heat or hot water in that same time span. Other tenants have had heat and hot water, but only for a few hours each day. New York City law requires landlords heat their buildings at the start of October when the weather dips to a certain temperature. The law also mandates the provision of hot water year-round, 24 hours a day.

To correct the issues, the Society and Brooklyn Legal Services filed suit on behalf of 26 residents in the two buildings against the landlords, Bronx Brooklyn Preservation LP and Management 26 Inc. The lawsuit, filed last week in Brooklyn Housing Court, also presses for fines. New York Communities for Change organized the tenants.

The Daily News reported on the lawsuit and quoted Leigh Mangum, a Staff Attorney in the Civil Practice’s Tenant Rights Coalition. “Many of the tenants in the building are seniors. Many have young kids,” Mangum told the Daily News. “It’s not right for anyone to have to live without heat and hot water and cooking gas.”

Daily News
By Erin Durkin
EXCLUSIVE: Brooklyn tenants sue controversial landlord over lack of heat, cooking gas
October 31, 2016

Brooklyn tenants slapped a developer tied to the controversial Bedford Union Armory project with a lawsuit charging they’ve been left without hot water, cooking gas and heat for weeks.

Twenty-six residents at two adjacent buildings in Brownsville filed the suit Friday, asking a judge to order their landlord to fix the problems and impose fines.

“Many of the tenants in the building are seniors. Many have young kids. It’s not right for anyone to have to live without heat and hot water and cooking gas,” said lawyer Leigh Mangum of the Legal Aid Society.

Preservation Development Partners bought the buildings earlier this year. The company was co-founded by BFC Partners, the firm tapped to transform the Crown Heights armory into apartments, townhouses and a sports center.

Tenants say their cooking gas was shut off on Oct. 5. Many say they’ve had no heat or hot water at all since early October, while others have had it only a few hours a day.

New York Communities for Change, which has protested the armory project, organized tenants in the Brownsville buildings.

City law requires landlords to provide heat beginning on Oct. 1 when the temperature falls below a certain level, and hot water 24 hours a day all year long.

A BFC spokesman said National Grid discovered an illegal plumbing hookup in the gas lines of the building that dated to the previous owner and shut down the building’s utility meters. The company installed a mobile boiler before the shutdown to supply heat and hot water and have given tenants hot plates, he said. They expect National Grid to restore full utilities soon.