In early April, hundreds of tenants in a housing project in the South Bronx had a concerning surprise awaiting them when they woke up. They had no running water. That's a pretty big deal—and quite an inconvenience—any time of the year. But for this to happen during the coronavirus pandemic, it's a big health issue, too. Here's what happened and what to do if you ever face a similar crisis in the New York City home you're renting.
The Reason for the Water Outage
Over 2,000 residents of the Jackson Houses—located at Courtland Ave. and E. 156th St.—realized they had no running water upon waking up one morning. The water outage affected all seven buildings, which house 868 apartment units altogether.
This left the residents without a way to take a shower or flush toilets. And of course, they couldn't even wash their hands or faces, which people are supposed to be doing more often than usual in order to avoid spreading COVID-19. This means the water outage isn't just an inconvenience, but also a health concern for NYC residents.
The head of the tenant association did reach out to the New York City Housing Authority, but the organization couldn't say when exactly the water would be restored to the buildings. Apparently, the house pumps were damaged and though repair crews were on the way, no one knew how long it would take to fix them. In the meantime, some residents—including the head of the tenant association—had to use their own bottled water to wash their hands until the repairs were made.
What To Do When the Home You Rent Needs Emergency Repairs
In this news story, repair crews were quickly dispatched to the buildings to try to fix the problem, so it's likely the residents had running water within a day of discovering the issue. But this is not always the case. In fact, many tenants have to spend months or even years trying to get their New York landlord to make simple repairs.
In some cases, the repairs are minor and can wait. But in others—like the one in the South Bronx housing projects here—quick repairs are critical. If you're without basic necessities in the home you rent, such as water or electricity, you deserve to be able to reach your landlord within minutes and have repairs arranged the same day whenever possible.
If you've been struggling with this issue with your landlord, you need to talk to an NYC attorney who is familiar with landlord/tenant laws. An experienced, compassionate lawyer can help you get the repairs you need for your NYC home as soon as possible. After all, when you're paying rent and following the rules in the lease, the least you can expect is a home that's safe for you and your family to live in. If your landlord isn't giving you this courtesy, contact a New York real estate attorney to schedule an initial consultation so you can get the legal guidance you need.