Brooklyn residents battle landlord over heat

Kemberly Richardson reports from Crown Heights
January 8, 2014 2:47:58 PM PST
People are freezing in an apartment building in Brooklyn.

Tenants say the heat is sporadic and for one woman it's more than just fighting the cold.

She's fighting for the health of her daughter who needs vital medical machinery, but using it means unplugging her heaters.

"She can't stay in that room to long because it's too cold," said Christine Ortega, a resident without heat.

Christine Ortega is talking about her daughter's room, where the 6-year-old should be spending most of her time.

You see, Christael has cerebral palsy and needs all of this equipment near her bed, oxygen, and a ventilator to stay alive ,but because this apartment, most in this building, have only been getting sporadic heat, well the radiator in Christael's room is cold to the touch.

"Yesterday it was ridiculous, yes even the floor was cold, it was icy cold," Ortega said.

So Christael now spends most of her time in her mom's room.

They use a small portable heater to keep warm but have to make tough choices, like when and if to plug in the feeding and suction equipment.

"We can only run one portable heater because if we run two it trips off the main switch," Ortega said.

Inside a neighbor's apartment, it was an icy 59 degrees.

Seth Miller, the owner of the building 940 Prospect Place and the one next door, was named one of the city's 50 worst landlords last year.

Records show, in the past year, there have been about 60 complaints filed for no heat, and so far Miller has been slapped with one violation.

"It's been hard, it's tiring," Ortega said.

Eyewitness News did reach out to Seth Miller and his company Aegis Realty, but did not hear back.

Tenants hope to get answer next Tuesday during a hearing in housing court.