Bay Ridge apartment dwellers want answers after being without cooking gas for months

Gas act!

Residents of Bay Ridge apartment and co-op buildings who have been without cooking and laundry dryer gas for months are begging for answers and better communication.

Several tenants of 7420 Ridge Boulevard — owned by Ridge Leasing Limited and managed by Kings & Queens Residential LLC — lost their cooking gas this past February and it has been a difficult ordeal for them since.

“On February 18, the gas just went out,” said tenant Nancy Daly, who has lived in the building for 37 years. “There are so many stories and the building is not very helpful in giving any information.”

Daly, a senior citizen, says that the lack of gas has compromised her health. “I am a diabetic so I have a special diet,” she said. “I live by myself. There are a couple of other seniors that have the same problem and there are some babies here, too. Bay Ridge has all types of restaurants but there’s only a certain amount of money. One of the tenants has two kids and told me how difficult it is. I haven’t had a good cooked meal in a while unless we go out.”

Tenants complain that the story they’ve been given has morphed over time.

The insincerity of it all and lack of transparency from the management to let us know exactly what is happening is the worst,” said resident Wilma Gutierrez. “There’s a lack of truth. They said it was a city issue but it was a building issue all along. We have all been just speculating. I just wish we knew how long it would be. The lack of knowledge is awful.”

Gutierrez stressed that the confusion stems from no one taking responsibility for the lack of gas.

Frustrated, she called 311 and an emergency inspector came out to investigate. “He said that they were unaware that there was any issue with the city at all,” Gutierrez recounted. “It was the building. [The building] did finally issue a notice to say there was a gas issue and they were going to get a permit to [fix it] in February. It’s been two months to the day. It’s been insane.”

Building representatives eventually responded to the situation by giving each affected tenant a hot plate.

“They basically waited until the last minute to give tenants any kind of notice,” added another tenant who requested anonymity. “Their solution after months of no gas is give hot plates. Really? In a building that’s almost 100 years old, you’re going to overload an already messed-up electrical system with hot plates. That’s real smart. The Fire Department should know about that.”

“Some people didn’t want to take [the hot plates] because it takes up too much electricity,” added Daly. “I used it once but the plug got so hot, I was afraid.”

“That hardly covers the issue especially for those tenants who have little children who are dependent on meals at home so that’s a big issue,” added Gutierrez.

Councilmember Justin Brannan got involved after a number of residents reached out to his office.

“What the residents have been going through is outrageous,” he said. “Not only have they been without cooking gas and laundry facilities for months, they have no idea when their landlord is going to finish repairs. My office has been closely monitoring the situation and has been mediating between the landlord and renters. I hope the gas is restored soon and, once it is, the renters are fairly compensated for their troubles.”

The alleged insincerity of the landlords has been the toughest part, tenants say.

“We didn’t have any notice prior to it,” said Gutierrez. “We came home from a trip and found out it was gone.”

In addition, a co-op at 7901 Fourth Avenue has also lost gas, although it appears to be unrelated and gas for that building’s laundry dryers has already been restored.

7901 Fourth Avenue.
7901 Fourth Avenue.

“There are two problems,” said Chris McCreight, Brannan’s chief of staff, who has visited some of the affected tenants. “One is that it’s taking way too long, especially on the rental side, because they are dragging their feet a bit. We want them to communicate better with the shareholders and the renters, especially the renters. They all claim to have no idea what is going on there. They base everything on hearsay. When they see someone in the building, they go up and ask them and it gets passed around from resident to resident. That’s not a good way to communicate with tenants.”

Reps for the rental building have been especially difficult to deal with, added McCreight.

“They’re hard to get a hold of,” he said. “We’ve spoken to some folks there but they haven’t been very communicative with us. They don’t respond unless we go after them and call them like 20 times.”

Although the co-op seems to be more communicative, there still seems to be no end in sight.

“The problem is that for both buildings, they’re no closer to having cooking gas which has been going on since January for the co-op,” McCreight said. “It doesn’t seem like there is any end in sight for either of them. Both of them have separately told us for a variety of reasons that this is going to take a lot longer than they wanted and originally thought.”

According to tenants at 7420 Ridge, Wexler Plumbing and Heating has been working on the building since Monday, April 16.

“The owners said that they have to go and replace an entire section of a four-section building that hasn’t had gas,” contended the anonymous tenant. “So, are they going to be doing every single section one by one? Because I can’t live without gas for three months. Not having a laundry room is bad enough. I’m going broke sending my laundry out, but not being able to cook properly, it’s not going to cut it.”

Contacted for comment, a spokesperson for Kings & Queens Management told this paper, “We have been working with National Grid to restore cooking gas and laundry service to all affected units. The safety and comfort of our residents is our top priority, which is why we have decided to make significant investments in new piping throughout the affected areas. We appreciate our residents’ patience as we make these improvements.”

By press time, officials from the co-op could not be reached for comment.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.