Manhattan tenants left without heat and hot water

Nina Pineda has a 7 On Your Side report
Seven On Your Side
April 2, 2014 3:00:42 PM PDT
7 On Your Side is getting help for people living in a building with no heat, no hot water, and no gas.

This was not the winter you wanted to be living in those conditions for any time period.

The building is less than 40 blocks away from the site of the deadly Harlem gas explosion.

So when residents reported they smelled gas, Con Ed shut them down. But they say now that the fix is done, they can't get their heat turned back on.

For Sarah McCulley, the day starts with microwaving bowls of cold water and sticking them in the tub.

"We just kind of throw it over ourselves to get clean," said McCulley.

It's been this way for the last two weeks. Con Edison shut the gas off to the 6 story building after she and her neighbors smelled gas.

"It has ranged from about 38 to 48 degrees," said resident Brittany Ramirez.

Her Boston Terrier Bella shivers all day long.

"I can't even leave a space heater on because I dont want to cause a fire," she said.

Not only are they freezing, they can't make anything hot to warm up.

"When it's warm outside it's still freezing in the building. We have no gas, we can't cook, we are spending tons of money ordering food," said tenant David Kittelberger.

Con Edison said there WAS a gas leak coming from "teflon tape on pipe joints." and it was too dangerous to turn the gas on until building management Sackman Enterprises submitted proof of repairs.

"And they will get back to me and say oh yeah. we submitted everything. Every single day some kind of disconnect. We just are really frustrated and want it taken care of," said McCulley.

Sackman Enterprises even posted signs urging residents to contact Con Ed and complain. When they did?

"Everytime I call they tell me they tell us they don't have all the paperwork," said Ramirez.

A week later, Sackman management admitted in emails to the tenants its plumber needed to submit more paperwork, not previously requested.

"I don't think we shold pay rent. The building is not livable. We don't live in a third world country. This is Manhattan, New York," said tenant Kittelberger.

So we were here Tuesday. We talked to Con Ed. It's a day later and residents called us up with some exciting news.

"We have hot water and we have heat!," said Kittelberger.

"I jumped and felt the heater and noticed heat back on," Ramirez said.

A city inspector who had issued three violations gave the all clear.

"We thank you 7 On Your Side for coming out and being there for us," Kittelberger said. "What took the landlord two weeks took you a few hours, so we are so happy!

Con Ed told us there was no delay on their part. After the Harlem gas explosion they've been swamped with gas leak calls.

The management company told us it responded to a "small gas leak" "in a timely and appropriate manner."

It also said their plumber hooked up a temporary water heater and offered electric heaters.

But residents still aren't happy. Many say they're going to take the management company to court to ask for a rent reduction.