City comptroller report finds chronic rate of heat outages in NYCHA buildings

New reports by the city’s comptroller and the Legal Aid Society show consistent heat outages in both public and privately owned buildings in New York.

News 12 Staff

Jan 9, 2023, 6:08 PM

Updated 460 days ago

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New reports by the city’s comptroller and the Legal Aid Society show consistent heat outages in both public and privately owned buildings in New York.
Recently released documents by the Legal Aid Society found that the number of NYCHA residents without heat in the cold season has been increasing citywide. This includes hundreds of tenants at Red Hook East Houses who are without heat today because of a planned outage.
According to the report, there were more than 3,600 utility outages across NYCHA buildings between October 2021 and May 2022. That's more than 700 additional outages than the previous year.
The city comptroller also released a report showing that in many cases, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s interventions are effective, but the agency too often fails to apply them.
For instance, the report found more than 1,000 buildings in which tenants complained more than five times about the lack of heat from 2017 to 2021. In a quarter of those buildings, they found that the city did not take the necessary enforcement actions to solve the issue.
In addition, some tenants living in more than 70,00 privately owned residential buildings citywide made over 810,000 complaints about not having heat also in the last five years.  During the same period, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development issued at least 20,000 violations because of this clearing up roughly 80% of those violations. 
The comptroller also says that heat complaints and violations are disproportionately concentrated in communities of color.
Both reports stress the lack of heat is forcing many tenants to use portable heaters which have caused hundreds of fires in the last few years, including the deadly Twin Parks fire exactly one year ago.
NYCHA in a statement regarding to the report said, "Utility outages are the direct result of building infrastructure that every year further deteriorates after decades of federal disinvestment."


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