Jersey City officials and advocates worked together to get the heat back on at 96 Duncan Ave., which ended a court dispute between the landlord and tenants.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“We had a meeting last week with the city commissioner and all the tenants and he managed to get a court order for emergency boiler repair … in one day we had the parts delivered, the boiler was repaired, and the heat was on around 3 o’clock,” resident Betty Gill told HCV yesterday.
“Now thanks to the wonderful Commissioner Bill O’Dea we triumph.”
Just before Christmas, Grant and other tenants publicized the litigation against their landlord, Angela Morello Lange, alleging they hadn’t had heat for weeks, as HCV first reported.
O’Dea said that he went to the fourth floor of the apartment where a mother with several children, including a new born, to see how bad the conditions were. Grant also said all the children in the family got sick when there was no heat.
“By Monday, we were speaking with a judge and they were putting an order together to get someone in to repair the boiler. I identified a couple of contractors and asked them to go there. They said to send an invoice to the city. The judge issued the order for emergency repairs and in one day repaired the boiler and the building now has heat,” said O’Dea.
“To say it one sentence: ‘I went old school.’ Fulop, in my book, he gets an A + on this one. I think as a result of this, I think we have the landlord’s attention.”
He also credited Jersey City Together and Joel Brooks/the North New Jersey Democratic Socialists of America for staying on top of the issue.
Fulop, who also said Chief Municipal Prosecutor Jake Hudnut and Chief Municipal Judge Ramy Eid were key in getting the heat back on, said he is working with O’Dea and Ward B Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey to crack down on bad landlords.
“You have some really terrible landlords in this city and we want laws in place to work when they try to squeeze tenants. Over the cold weekend, that was one of our focuses,” stated Fulop.
“We’ll have a new ordinance to protect tenants from landlords that look to cut corners. It is reprehensible that you have landlords that think it’s acceptable in freezing temperatures to not fix, or think, or care about heat. The laws aren’t there yet to protect those tenants as they should.”
The Waterfront Project had been representing Gill and two other tenants at 96 Duncan Ave. in three separate but related cases.