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Bloomberg calls on landlords to restore power, heat after Sandy

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaking at City Hall on Monday, November 26, 2012
November 26, 2012 2:18:19 PM PST
Mayor Bloomberg says owners and landlords of multi-family residential buildings impacted by Hurricane Sandy must take action to make the necessary repairs to provide electricity, heat and hot water to their tenants before the cold of winter arrives.

As of Monday, 25,000 customers in New York City do not have power, heat or hot water, or some combination or the three. Most of buildings six stories or higher in the flood zone have had their critical utilities restored, but 2% do not have electricity and 3% do not have heat, officials said. Smaller buildings are a bigger problem with nearly a quarter still without heat or electricity. Six thousand privately-owned, two family homes in Queens, Staten Island and Brooklyn that do not have heat, electricity or hot water.

As temperatures continue to drop, endangering the health and safety of the tenants in storm damaged buildings, the city says essential services must be restored as quickly as possible. Building owners who need assistance can sign up for the NYC Rapid Repairs program so that the damage can be quickly assessed and repairs can be made to have these essential services restored.

"Landlords must take action to improve building conditions for their tenants - it's their legal obligation," said Mayor Bloomberg.

"We realize that many people, owners included, have suffered hardships because of Hurricane Sandy. However, with the days getting colder it is imperative that these critical services are restored. If owners need assistance, the City's Rapid Repair program is there to help make assessments and get the work done quickly," said Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Mathew Wambua.

Multi-family residential property owners in New York City are required to provide all essential services and maintain their buildings in habitable conditions that protect the life, health and safety of their tenants. Building owners have two options:

1) Owners and landlords may correct the conditions themselves and submit a timely certification to HPD.

2) Owners and landlords may sign up for the NYC Rapid Repairs program by calling 311, going to NYC.gov or visiting one of the City's Restoration Centers.

Owners who fail to promptly correct these hazardous conditions themselves or do not sign up with NYC Rapid Repairs to restore essential services to their buildings will be subject to the commencement of enforcement proceedings.

Prolonged exposure to cold increases health risks from a variety of causes, including:

  • Hypothermia, or dangerously low body temperature
  • Worsening of respiratory and cardiovascular conditions
  • Exposure to carbon monoxide, respiratory irritants, and fire risks among those using stoves for heat, generators for electricity, or candles for light

    Hypothermia is a life-threatening condition. It occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce it. Hypothermia can happen gradually and without the person realizing how serious it is. The symptoms of hypothermia include: uncontrollable shivering, weakness, confusion, and lack of coordination. In infants, signs of hypothermia may include: cold, bright red skin, or very low energy.

    Mayor Bloomberg launched NYC Rapid Repairs earlier this month to streamline the process for restoring power, heat and hot water to damaged homes. Under the typical process, homeowners are responsible for arranging repair work, and applying for federal reimbursement. Through NYC Rapid Repairs and in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the City coordinates assessments and repair work so that they happen more quickly and efficiently. The City also covers the construction costs. Homeowners can enroll in NYC Rapid Repairs by visiting NYC.gov or calling 311. A FEMA ID number is required and can be provided through DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362. The Rapid Repairs teams will work closely with City agencies, including the Department of Buildings and Department of Housing Preservation and Development, to make sure that any necessary inspections and certifications are done as quickly as possible.

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