long island city, queens: tank full, yimby empty

Stabilized Fleece

This, sadly, is a real letter.

I sent it to my building management’s office, specifically my landlord’s daughter (maybe granddaughter?), two years ago in 2018. To protect the guilty, I changed the landlord family surname to GreedymcGreedballs.

This written record demonstrates what some of us New Yorkers deal with in some stabilized buildings: and no, thank you, we do not want to move. We love where we live, we live in those places for decades and it is not just about the cheap rent: it is also about the investment of time. And that investment of time also translates into hundreds of thousands of dollars over the decades.

I’ve lived in my home for almost 23 years and have spent close to $300,000 despite my rent being insanely low for New York City. However, I also receive no maintenance, little heat, sometimes no hot water and this past year, during the pandemic, I had one week without electricity and one week without both heat and hot water.

I advocate for cheap housing because I live in cheap housing and benefit from cheap housing. But my goal is to change how it is managed. Because what happens to my fellow tenants and me is deplorable.

And greedy greedy greedy.

November 1, 2018

Ms. GreedymcGreedballs,

Enclosed is my check payment for my home’s rent.

As tenants in our homes in the building your father Papa GreedymcGreedballs owns, we appreciate that the heat was finally turned on to a sufficient level this past weekend in the building. That consistent delivery of heat proves there is no issue with the boiler: the boiler works fine when it is actually turned on. The only “problem” with the boiler happens for your tenants when you turn it off and refuse to provide adequate heat. We strongly suspect this happens solely for the purpose of saving fuel costs for the landlord Papa GreedymcGreedballs; we suspect this because it happens every heat season with the same unbelievable, illogical and untrue excuses given every year.

The management office for this building consistently engages in verbal abusive towards some of its tenants which is not only morally reprehensible and exhausting to experience, it is also against the law. Laws against such abuse in landlord tenant relationships, and even in business transactions, were created to combat behavior you, and others like you, embrace: it is a shame that actions and attitudes such as yours exist, most professional people would not dare function on such a morally corrupt level, but city laws against your behavior allow for the recipients of your lies and intimidation to obtain leverage against such abuse. Such behavior is unprofessional, gratuitous and distracting at best. At worst, it is abuse. Abuse is against the law, whether you like it or not: it is against the law.

It is against the law to direct your tenants to move out of the building: you are not to tell anyone, me or any other tenant, that their home is not their home simply because Papa GreedymcGreedballs owns the building or that the tenants should move if they are “unhappy” due to the lack of heat, hot water, superintendent and other legally-required amenities which do not exist in this building. It recently came to my attention you actually lied to several tenants by telling them that heat season doesn’t start until November 1: you are breaking the law when you relay this; you are willfully lying.

It is against the law to refuse to provide 24-hour hot water ever: hot water, by New York City law, must be available 365/366 days a year, 24 hours a day. Period. No more excuses: no more boiler “parts” which you all are “waiting” to arrive by “snail mail” from “Ohio” or from “Scandinavia” or “Dubai.”  Are you kidding us? Do you think we’re all stupid? You’ve used this same, sorry excuse for half a decade now: every September and October, without fail, you all pull out the “missing part” card and milk it like crazy to avoid spending money on fuel. No one believes your obvious and clumsy lie. This is Queens, New York City: if there’s any “missing part” for the boiler, it’s a ten-minute car ride away with a three-minute purchase transaction. No one, including Housing Preservation Development, believes your absurd lies and you sound literally stupid and crooked when you (still) try using them.

No more last-minute posting of signs announcing no heat or hot water for consecutive weekends or for one weekend or for even one afternoon or hour. You are never to turn off that boiler ever again unless you rent a portable boiler. You will never withhold hot water from your tenants again and you will never exploit the tenants of this building again for the sole purpose of saving your own money: if you all have to utilize funds out of Papa GreedymcGreedballs’s own pocket to provide heat or hot water to this building, then that’s what you all will do. Papa GreedymcGreedballs just bought a nearby eleven-million-dollar mixed-use building last month: if he has $11,000,000 to spend on a building, one can logically assume he has enough capital to cover the fuel costs needed to provide legally required heat and hot water to his current tenants here. And if he doesn’t, maybe Papa GreedymcGreedballs needs to rethink how he runs his businesses: I am confident the City can help him with that brainstorming.

The building management staff become easily irritated when they are told they are breaking the law, as if the annoyance of being informed of their own illegal activity trumps the actual illegal activity they are committing. It’s part of the ploy which is used against your tenants: you scream at them, you hang up on them, you bark at them to move, you mock and criticize their “unhappiness” at the lack of heat or hot water and you also claim the tenants’ homes aren’t really their homes because they are renters. It is illegal to harass your tenants in such a manner and it is illegal to refuse to provide services. Tenants are home dwellers whether you like it or not: these rental apartments are, indeed and by law, our homes. It is disgusting to tell your tenants that their homes are not their homes: do not ever do that again to me or any other of your tenants. It is reprehensible how you speak to people: learn respect and give it to people who give you money on a regular basis. Your disrespect and abuse are not a fit for this building.

I found out last week that this building actually has a superintendent, someone other than the man who lives in one of the illegally-built rooms in our building’s basement. I was provided with this superintendent’s name and number from a fellow tenant who told me this individual is the “real” superintendent: I am curious as to why the building management office never supplied all its tenants with this man’s name and number. I was also told that the building management office has its “pets” in the building and that these “pets” are served immediately by your office and even treated with respect, unlike the way I and others are treated. It is illegal for you to provide preferential treatment to some tenants while refusing services to other tenants.

The HPD inspector who was in my home to follow up on the heat issues told me my apartment needed to be painted, as it never has been in over twenty years, and that my almost 21-year-old stove needed to be replaced for safety reasons.

I am also currently dealing with a cockroach issue in my kitchen and other areas of my home which I suspect is due to a leak in the wall between my kitchen and living room. I have been trying on my own and at my own expense to eradicate the bugs, but they persist and I may soon need help beyond my own means with this problem. As well, the hall closet outside my bathroom has a heavy unattached door which rests against the wall. Also, in my kitchen, there has been so much water damage that some of my shelves are swollen and deformed due to water saturation. The cabinets in my bathroom are similarly waterlogged; it is challenging to keep all the water-damaged areas clean and vermin-free.

Because I was informed years ago by the building management office that I would have to “go to court” in order to receive any legally required improvements, like a paint job or a new stove or a repaired closet door or exterminator services, I have either lived with inconvenience or have attempted to solve issues on my own. The HPD inspector affirmed I do not need to go to court and that I can contact 311 (“think of us as your super,” he said) for such repairs. This letter serves to inform you of these needed improvements: if you pretend to ignore them, I can resend this letter to you. These repairs are reasonable, legally appropriate and are the responsibility of Papa GreedymcGreedballs.

Any time I call your office, it is a legitimate request for help. I am not “lying” when I relay to you that we have no heat and/or no hot water. I am not bored and making a call as a ruse just to bother you: it is absurd and disgusting to accuse me of this. There is no goodwill on your end when I call your office: I am treated like garbage, I am told to “move,” I am told my home is not mine. I am forced to endure these barrages and many times, nothing ever even happens to amend the complaint. I then have to report you to 311 in order to get the heat turned on because you refuse to turn it on when I call you. You waste so much of my time, it’s like a fulltime job to document what you do, it’s exhausting and it is 100% because of your neglect that I have to take the steps I take. You have no idea what it is to live the way you expect your tenants to live: you enjoy a hot shower or bath every day of your life but you expect your tenants to go without that simple and legally-required basic service for two days every week, almost a third of the week. Just so Papa GreedymcGreedballs can save some money. It is disgusting, it is illegal and it is never happening in this building again.

The building management office staff have insulted me, hung up on me, mocked me and dismissed me. I’ve taken notes on every incident. I also write down every time the heat goes on and goes off: I keep track. There are years of my complaints to 311. My phone carrier has years of my calls into your office and years of texts pleading for heat: I have extensive records. I did that on purpose. And I “hate” talking to your office, too: I hate lies and liars and thieves. Hate them: hate talking to them. But if I have to suffer liars and suffer lying in order to continue to keeping track, then that is what I’ll do. I will do it and I won’t stop doing it until your illegal behavior stops. The latter will never stop, knowing the GreedymcGreedballs family, so I will continue to keep track of it all.

No matter what your office says to me, I am not moving, you’re not bullying out of my apartment which I have rented since 1998, I am not going anywhere: this is my home and you are legally required to keep it in livable condition.

I look forward to that actually happening.

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