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?


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...


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 said...

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

Anonymous said...

Dealing with ConEd and a gas shut down is not as simple as people think. I know a landlord that spent $40 k fixing the problem and he still wasn't able to get ConEd to the building before 3 gas for cooking is not deemed an emergency..If it would have involved heat/hot water..48 hour turn on after work is complete

Anonymous said...

. I will soon have gas piping work in my Mitchell Lama coop unit in Brooklyn and in the middle of discussing types of compensation that we deem we (shareholders) should be entitled to during the pipe work which will inconvenience my family in the following ways:
- I will have to take time off from work in order to provide access to my unit.
- If one shareholder fails to provide access in my unit line, it will delay the work and therefore forcing a longer stay at home for repairs.
- My children will be exposed to dust due to the wall demo as by previous experience during our recent plumbing project, the demo crew did not take to best precaution to protect the surrounding areas of the work and dust was all over my units (even with plastic sheets taped in the non-work areas from top to bottom AT MY EXPENSE). In other shareholder cases, there will be senior shareholders in which dust could be detrimental to their health if not taking the right precautions.
- I will be forced to provide food for my wife and 3 children of 14, 10 and 1 year old outside of home from 4 weeks to up to 6 months if additional leaks are found in the non-worked risers sections, unless I accept their offer of a $50 check that is intended to be used for a hot plate and NOT FOOD, which would also protect the building from a lawsuit in the case that there is a fire due to faulty equipment or other causes.
- I will be forced to buy less than healthy foods because healthy foods in my neighborhood are just too expensive.
- The building management does not supply the paint after the wall has been replaced, even if the paint was the standard paint it had when I moved in the unit.

If anyone has any information or resources that would assist us in receiving the proper compensation, I would appreciate as it would affect at least 48 families in my building.

Thank You!

Patricia said...

If anyone reading this lives on the UES..and this happens to you, Lenox Hill Housing Authortiy is very good.They actually take cases oustide the area.

Unknown said...

I have been without cooking gas since May of 2021 and the owner of the building has not offered me a rent reduction. What can I do?