Tenants at 630 Bergen Ave. in Jersey City are seeking answers for an elevator that has remained broken for roughly two years, along with water damage along the windows and ceilings of certain apartments.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Every time that it rains here, the water that comes from outside we get here in our apartments – all that rain damage comes through our apartment,” Salvador Vega, who has lived at the building with his wife since 1984, said in an interview with HCV.
“Every time we send a message to management, they never reply, they never get back to us, this has been going on for years, and now the issue that we’ve got with the elevator too that it’s [been] almost two years, they haven’t fixed. So we’ve been asking, we’ve been knocking doors, we’ve been asking people to help us out. We need someone to help us out, we don’t know how much power these people have.”
A few other tenants spoke under the condition of anonymity, with one elderly man indicating that a heart condition doesn’t allow him to use the stairs. Therefore, with the elevator out, he must rely on friends and family to bring him groceries and do laundry.
Another renter said she is ready to leave her apartment after just five months, but was told by management it would cost her two months rent to break her lease.
A notice on the door from city indicates that the elevator has been out since at least January 10th, 2023, but each tenant said the situation had been ongoing for much longer than that.
Hudson County Commissioner Bill O’Dea (D-2), a declared candidate for Jersey City mayor in 2025, said that he and his office have been working on this issue for about six months and are doing their best to help remedy the situation.
“There are seniors, you saw one of them, literally had to go up three or floor flights of stairs every day and they have back problems, they walk with a cane: it’s immoral, it’s unacceptable,” O’Dea said on camera.
“I just spoke to [Jersey City Director of Code Compliance] Joe Barrow while you were here and he said they’re gonna meet with the Law Department to see if they can come in and fix the elevator. A couple years ago, we had an issue on Duncan Avenue, the boiler was out … and within two days we had the boiler replaced. If we can replace a boiler in 48 hours, we should be able to replace an elevator in a day-and-half.”
O’Dea also said the “greedy landlord” caused the elevator debacle by allowing AT&T to install a cell phone tower in the building, which has 60 units and somewhere between 150 to 200 residents.
A notice issued to residents yesterday indicates that the Jersey City Office of Code Compliance will be performing a building inspection between 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. tomorrow.
In the event that the inspection doesn’t lead to quick action, O’Dea said more drastic measures will need to be taken, such as a rent strike, protest outside the management office, or going to City Hall.
City spokeswoman Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione said that the building has been on their radar for over a year and was issued violations for minor infractions such as small leaks, radiator issues, and broken tiles, which they will have 30 days to fix.
“Since it is a privately owned building, Code Compliance enforcement officers have been doing site visits every week for over a year and have issued summonses to the private building owner every time the elevator is not adequately operating,” she wrote in an email.
A call to J Square Owner LLC, the company who tenants said they pay their rent to, was not returned as of Wednesday evening.