Thursday, May 24, 2012

How much of a rent discount for not having gas for cooking?

A resident is looking for a little advice about the current situation in his or her East Seventh Street apartment building. (It's a different building than the one we wrote about here in March 2011.)

Some background.

On April 12, workers shut off the gas because tenants had been smelling a gassy odor in the building. The residents didn't have hot water or gas for cooking for nine days. The hot water returned on April 20 — but there still wasn't any gas for cooking.

According to the resident, the building's landlord, Koppelman Management, was difficult, if not impossible, to reach. When someone did get in touch with a building rep, they apparently blamed the matter on ConEd. On May 7, full gas service was restored to all but five of the apartments. To date, gas for cooking is still not available in the five apartments.

Tenants have called 311, though the resident described the exchanges as "ineffective." Meanwhile, the resident says management offered a 15-percent discount on the May rent for the gas outage from April 12-May 7. But the resident, who's in one of the five units still without gas for cooking, thinks that's a low-ball figure, considering people have spent more than 15 percent of the rent on food in the past five weeks.

So far, the resident hasn't paid the May rent, and won't until the issue is resolved.

"The entire building is pissed off but everyone is at a loss for rules/laws, etc. This building has never properly been taken care of and ... this has been a constant problem. [Residents have] had rent strikes in the past just to get regular maintenance done."

Any constructive input? Do you calculate what you think you spent on food and subtract that from the rent? Other options?

7 comments:

Ken from Ken's Kitchen said...

Call the

Urban Justice Center
123 William Street 16th Floor
New York, NY, 10038

Phone 646.602.5600

We had a _major_ problem with our landlord that was handled pro-bono by the UBC. They will walk you through what needs to be done. In our case that was accomplished over a series of phone calls and then we did the necessary legwork. The problem was resolved successfully in our favor and the landlord even wound up apologizing.

Call first, walk-in clients won't be seen at their offices.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I live on St. Marks Place. We didn't have cooking gas in our building due to a fire. The management/landlord offered us $20 a day for no cooking gas. It took one year for our cooking gas to be restored. This totaled $7200 per tenant. All tenants were given a monthly $600 abatement to their rent for 12 months. After receiving this abatement for 5 months the building was sold and the new landlord tried to void the agreement of the previous landlord and took us to court over it. We won and continued to receive the abatement.
We couldn't have done this without the help of Cooper Square Committee. They organized our building and guided us through the system.

Marcos said...

I'm not qualified to answer but I suggest that you save the receipts for all of the food that you purchase. That way you'll be able to show what your actual costs are.

Gojira said...

VERY IMPORTANT - if you are withholding rent, you and all the other tenants doing so MUST set up an escrow account and put the deferred rent payments in there instead. That way your landlord cannot evict you for nonpayment; this kind of account is legal proof to the judge that you had the money and put it into escrow, to be paid to the landlord at such a time as the issues being fought over have been resolved to everyone's satisfaction.

blue glass said...

the more of you that work together the stronger you all will be.
those that have had their gas restored should join with you.
a good contact is metropolitan council on housing.

Anonymous said...

My building didn't have gas for over a year and we were never offered any deductions... finally they put in electric stove. Count yourself lucky!

Shawn Chittle said...

Con Ed charges me $12 a month to NOT have gas service. Can you believe that shit?!