Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Chelsea, Midtown) and Representative Jerry Nadler (D-Morningside Heights, Midtown) rallied last Saturday to demand that the tenants of Standard Companies and Winn Residential have their cooking gas services restored.
In June 2018, Polyclinic Apartments, a 151-unit complex at 345-349 West 50th St., had its gas service cut by Standard Companies and Winn Residential after they discovered pervasive leaks. The decision was made without the approval of the Department of Housing and Urban Renewal (HUD).
Nearly nine months later, gas services still have yet to be returned to the building. The tenants have had to resort to using hot plates and toaster ovens to prepare hot meals, and have only been compensated with $20 in rental credit per month.
“There is one reason these tenants do not have gas – a complete lack of urgency on behalf of the owner and management to make the necessary repairs,” said Nadler. “It is shocking that nine months later the owner and management still do not have approved construction plans to restore gas and allow tenants to resume cooking in their own homes.”
Standard Companies and Winn Residential have not told tenants when they can expect to have their construction plans approved. Furthermore, they have stated that it will take them at least six months to restore gas after they do receive approval – meaning that by the time the ordeal is over, the tenants will have spent over a year without cooking gas.
Gottfried said that he was appalled by the carelessness and incompetency displayed by these two companies.
“The Empire State Building was constructed in a year and 45 days and yet these companies are going to take longer to figure out how to replace existing gas lines,” said Gottfried. “The ability to cook in your own home is essential; denying tenants access to a stove and oven indefinitely is unacceptable. And on top of that, to claim that $20 a month is fair compensation for being deprived of a stove is outrageous.”
State Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Chelsea, Midtown) called the delay “absolutely egregious” and thanked Nadler for organizing the rally.
“Management has failed to fulfill their most basic responsibility and must expedite the return of safe gas service immediately,” said Hoylman. “Polyclinic tenants have suffered long enough. I’m extremely grateful to Congressman Nadler for organizing today’s rally and bringing much needed public attention to this outrage.”