Jersey City: We don’t have hot water, so what’d we do?

Jersey City: We don’t have hot water, so what’d we do?

Jersey City
James and Staci Berger from HCDNNJ in Union City

When Ida hit, the basement of my apartment building flooded and the water heaters of my building were ruined. For almost two weeks to date, my building has been without hot water and the landlord hasn’t communicated with us at all – not even an acknowledgment of the problem. The only person I heard from is a plumber I happened to bump into one day. My neighbors and I called and emailed our landlord several times over the course of the first week – no response. 

We called our city council representative, the city’s Resident Response Center which deals with immediate housing problems for renters and told them about the lack of hot water and the lack of communication from our landlord. My councilor’s office called the landlord and told them they will be hit with an ‘absentee landlord’ complaint if they do not restore hot water, and on Monday a plumber came and was only able to restore hot water to two out of six units. Today the Resident Response Center had a city inspector call the landlord and informed them they will be charged $2,000 a day (yes, a day) if they do not restore hot water.

We still don’t have hot water but we aren’t being quiet about it, we are speaking out and the landlord is feeling pressure to restore hot water as soon as possible. We’ll continue to speak out until everyone has hot water and our landlord communicates with us regularly. What progress we’ve had is only because we talked to each other and decided to act – no one benefits from us just waiting for the problem to be fixed, that’s why we stand up and speak out.

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