Astoria Tenants Protest Landlord’s Refusal To Restore Boiler

ASTORIA, QUEENS – Tenants of a regulated rental home in Astoria say their landlord left them out in the cold by refusing to fix their building’s broken boiler.

Residents gathered outside their home at 21-11 27th St. Wednesday and sentenced their landlady, Patricia Martin, for ignoring her request to fix the hot water and heating for more than a month.

Instead, the landlord has threatened to evict them, despite the Rent Stabilization Act protecting tenants, according to the Legal Aid Society, which is filing a case in the Queens Housing Court on behalf of the tenants.

“This is an outrageous case of a landlady tinkering with the rights of her tenants by turning off her heating,” said Sateesh Nori, attorney in charge of the Legal Aid Society in Queens. “No one should be subjected to such harassment and abuse during this pandemic.”

What it’s like to go to school when there is no heat. pic.twitter.com/oqSf29xSlb
– sknori (@sateesh_nori) November 18, 2020

Tenants of the 16-unit building, many of whom are immigrants and low-wage workers, include children over the age of one and some with chronic conditions such as asthma.

That – and the plummeting temperatures – make the problem all the more pressing, said elected officials and supporters.

“At a time when so many New Yorkers are struggling to keep a roof over their heads, put food on the table, and temperatures only drop, it’s not surprising that some landlords wield their power over their tenants by they deny them constant heat and hot water, “New York State Senator Jessica Ramos said in a statement.

Martin, the landlord, told CBS2 New York that she repaired the boiler from late September to early November after weeks of heat, but was unaware of any other complaints.