7 On Your Side brings the heat -- and hot water -- for East Orange tenants

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Tuesday, October 18, 2022
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Dozens of tenants in New Jersey said they had been living with cold showers for weeks until 7 On Your Side turned up the heat on their landlord. Nina Pineda has the story.

EAST ORANGE, New Jersey (WABC) -- Temperatures have been plummeting, so for tenants, that means it's officially time for landlords to turn on the heat.

But for more than 40 shivering New Jersey tenants -- who also say they've been taking cold showers for weeks -- it was time for Nina Pineda and 7 On Your Side to turn up the heat.

It's been a battle against the elements for tenant Kamesha Williams -- first a fire, now ice.

7 On Your Side first met her when her family fought flames after their East Orange apartment building caught fire, sending Williams, her late mom, and her son running for their lives.

She called 7 On Your Side to help retrieve her security deposit from that management company. After being temporarily homeless, she moved into a new building and from the jump, there was either no hot water or hot water that would come and go.

Since the first week of September, she's complained numerous times about the lack of heat or hot water.

"I'm calling management, texting submitting work orders online," Williams said. "The super comes and does something to the boiler and it comes on but it doesn't last."

On September 28, a text from the management company representative assured plumbers would "be replacing the control board on the boiler" that day.

A week later, there was still intermittent hot water.

As of October 1, landlords are required by law to provide heat and hot water for tenants until May 31 in New York City, or May 15th in East Orange, where Williams lives.

On October 2, she complained again, and even wrote to the Mayor of East Orange, because as a front line health care worker, Williams says a hot shower is a necessity.

"I work in a hospital, I'm dealing with COVID, monkeypox, when I come home and turn on the water and its ice cold, I feel like I'm unsanitary, I don't have adequate water and it's dangerous transporting the pots all the way to the back," she said.

7 On Your Side warned her not to use her stove to warm up her apartment. It's a dangerous practice that can cause fires or worse -- carbon monoxide poisoning.

On October 8, her carbon monoxide detector went off as the deadly gas was leaking from her oven, according to the fire department's report.

First responders had to immediately ventilate the apartment.

So 7 On Your Side immediately went to see to the property manager.

After that visit, the management company said it promised to have the repair done within a few days but then called back 7 On Your Side to say instead of replacement parts they had to order a whole new boiler.

A week later, the old rusty boiler was out and workers were busy hooking up a brand new one

"Nina you already know you the best," Williams said. "7 On Your Side, you the bomb!"

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