On Friday, the Legal Aid Society announced that it had filed a lawsuit in Queens Housing Court on behalf of 45 tenants of Regent Apartments in Elmhurst who have gone without gas since January.
Legal Aid filed the action Regent Equities LLC, New York City Department of Buildings Department of Housing Preservation and Development to compel the restoration of gas for cooking in the apartment complex.
HPD has recorded twenty and cited the building for six open Class C violations based on the lack of gas services. Inspections are underway in all 45 apartments rented by tenants represented, which will enable HPD to release a more accurate picture of the total number of violations, Legal Aid said.
The lack of gas has forced tenants in the 194-unit complex to buy food or rely on hot plates and butane stoves, options that raise the price of their diet and their electric bills.
“We have to buy food on the street,” Patricia Rico, 59, told CBS2, adding that she has lived in the building for 26 years and has two children to feed. “Every single day. We don’t eat healthy.”
Under city law, landlords have 24 hours to repair Class C violation, which are designated as “immediately hazardous.” The landlord has failed to restore gas services to the 194 families living in the building, Legal Aid said.
In addition to seeking an order that directs the landlord to fix the gas,Legal Aid is pursuing a harassment claim.
“Landlords have a legal obligation to provide essential services, such as cooking gas, to their tenants. When landlords fail to do this, tenants and their families suffer immensely. We as a City have a duty to help our neighbors who are forced to live under these conditions ,” said Nelson Yeung, Staff Attorney with the Queens Civil Practice of The Legal Aid Society. “The residents of this building have suffered far too long because of the landlord’s negligence and the City’s failure to monitor this situation. Enough is enough; we look forward to resolving our clients’ case in court very soon.”