Sun. Dec 8th, 2019

Inspectors visit ‘Dear John’ reader’s apartment

3 min read

Dear John: Please help me! My entire apartment has brown water. 

I am having issues with getting the landlord and management to actually fix it. I cannot bathe with or drink the water in my home. 

I am in a rent-stabilized apartment, but he is illegally continuing to up my rent, from $1,365 to now $1,750 a month — thanks in part to an illegal individual apartment improvement up-charge. 

They acknowledged this and reduced rent to $1,700, but it’s still an incorrect lease and they refuse to correct it. 

I learned the laws and requirements for rent-stabilized units. I am in court to get repairs and cease harassment. But nothing has happened since January. 

I can’t afford a lawyer. I can’t afford to keep missing work or leaving work early to take an hour train ride to housing court. 

It’s going on 10 months now. I do not want to leave the neighborhood. I love it and made it my home. 

I need your help. There are more details to this. I have photographs, videos and e-mails. How do I get them to fix things and compensate me for this gross negligence? 

Can you help me air their dirty laundry so other tenants can speak out, too? They are scared and some do not know about the illegal rent charge. X.S. 

Dear X.S.: As you know, a lot has happened since you sent me this e-mail. After I made a few calls, a virtual army of New York state and NYC investigators descended on your place.

It helped that your apartment nearly caught on fire one morning while I was talking to them because of illegal electrical installations. A light started sparking and the Fire Department had to be called.

Within hours, a SWAT team of city and state officials was at your place.

My contact at the city Building Department said two electrical code violations were issued. One was for a defective outlet in the apartment, and the other for electrical work that was done without a permit.

Neither violation warranted the inspectors kicking you out of the apartment.

The water wasn’t brown when the inspectors were there so no plumbing violations were issued. But they saw the disgusting pictures you sent me.

The next time that happens call 311 — which every tenant with a problem should do. You can also get in touch with me and I’ll send the SWAT team again.

“Jackie Bray, director of the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants, has been in communication with this tenant for any future issues that might arise,” my source at the Buildings Department said.

Because it’s a rent-stabilized apartment, NYS investigators are also looking into this.

You told me that other people in the building were so impressed by what was happening in your apartment that they wanted to form a tenants association. Good luck, Norma Rae!

Readers: In last week’s column I wrote that Lively, a hearing aid company, was willing to give away three sets of the devices.

I received many, many requests from readers who needed hearing aids and couldn’t afford to buy them. All of those requests were sent to Lively and the company will decide who will get the free hearing aids.

I’ll keep you informed on the progress in future columns.

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Author: New York Post