Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Oceangate Tenants File Comments on Submetering

The North Bay Tenants Association at the Oceangate apartment complex in Brooklyn filed a petition on January 28, 2010 asking the PSC to revoke its prior approval of landlord submetering of electrically heated apartments. As a result, implementation of submetering has been put on hold. The PSC issued a notice inviting public comment under the State Administrative Procedure Act. Last week, the North Bay Tenants Association filed a summary of comments of 212 tenants pointing out flaws in the submetering regime that was about to be implemented.

The tenants stated:
  • The apartments are heated by baseboard electric heat. Almost 60% of the commenting households reported that their baseboard electric heaters lacked programmable thermostats.
  • Eleven percent (11%) reported that their windows do not open and close properly and almost
  • 17% reported that their apartment doors do not open and close properly. Forty-eight percent
  • 48% said their windows were drafty; 43% reported drafts around their apartment doors, and
  • 73% said there is no weather stripping on their apartment doors, leading to hallways that 50% said were unheated.
  • About 53% of the 212 commenting households wrote in additional comments and of these, 19% reported malfunctioning heaters and thermostats and inadequate heat in winter.
Comments regarding the baseboard electric heaters included the following:
  • "The new heaters are not child proof and they need to fix that."
  • "The biggest problem is there is no manual option to adjust heat. It was very cold all the time."
  • "The thermostate [sic] doesn't work."
  • "'We don't have no control of the thermostat."
  • "Heater does not work in winter time."
  • My apartment is always cold the heat never comes up. The meter [sic] by the kitchen stays showing that there is heat because it is near the kitchen when I cook -once again I don't think its fair to pay for something (heat) that I do not receive.
  • In the winter we have to sleep with hats and sweaters or hoodies because its constantly cold. I don't think it is fair to have to pay for something I don't receive regularly."
  • "I don't have control over my thermostat and my heat."
  • "I feel electricity should be included in the rent because we have no control of thermostat."
  • "There is a problem with the heaters, before they never worked after the landlord changed new heaters I cannot regulate my own temperature since its also not working when it comes to regulating temperatures."
  • "I have a 1 year old son, it is cold in my whole house. We have to walk around and sleep in our regular clothing instead of night clothing. I do not feel that it is fair to me or my son I said something to landlord and they said there is nothing they can do the heat is controlled by the thermostat."
  • "In order to heat my apartment I have to put ice pack on the heater to make heat go on and use electric heaters."
  • "Apartment very cold we have to put ice pack or ice on the meters for the apartment to be warm."
  • "In Dec., Jan., Feb. 2010 my baseboard heaters in LR and BR didn't work. It was very cold in the apartment."
  • "I haven't been getting heat since the conversion to meters. Using ice does not activate system. Neither does turning thermostat."
  • "Through the earlier part of Fall and into Winter my apt. was extremely cold resulting in me cutting on oven and boiling water. Eventually I ended up putting frozen water bottles on the thermostat to generate heat this was called into the management . . . ."
  • "Did not work properly during the winter too cold."
  • "I don't know what switch they clicked but my heat comes on even when it's not cold outside or in my house. Even though 50% of the winter we had no heat."
  • There is not enough heat to warm up the living room - draft comes in from my front door and AC.
The owner of Oceangate has been granted extensions of time by the PSC to answer the tenants' emergency petition. New York State DHCR and the PSC have not yet responded to FOIL requests relating to their prior actions approving submetering. The tenants believe there was a lack of timely and adequate notice of the agency actions and that the submetering was approved without full compliance with HUD regulations applicable to submetering conversions, which require tenant participation and establishment of utility allowances commensurate with the usage of energy conservative tenants.

1 comment:

Gebrina Roberts said...

Oceangate has a PATTERN of NOT giving timely notices to their tenants. The tenants can't possibly ask questions of how proposed management changes will affect their ability to maintain their household.

The very fact that Oceangate were granted extensions after NOT following the HUD compliance regulations SEEMINGLY APPEARS that DHCR, HUD and PSC are NOT for the tenants or in co-hoots of economic discrimination.

If the very state and federal agencies that are in place to help tenants are not for us. Oceangate's tenants need to be prepared for the full economic raping that will be upon us shortly.