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Know Your Rights
Source: CBS 2
Subject: Housing & Environmental Justice
Type: Media Coverage

Brooklyn Tenant: Landlord Shuts Off Heat Every Night

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — This year’s tough winter has left thousands of New York City residents literally out in the cold. Many have been fighting for heat with landlords who don’t provide it.

Among those dealing with the issue is Gladys Puglla, of Bushwick, Brooklyn. She said living in an apartment with no heat every night has taken its toll.

“I’m angry because I’m getting sick and I haven’t been able to get better and every day it’s a hassle for me to go to work, coughing all day in my job and I can’t do my work,” she told CBS 2′s Marcia Kramer.

Puglla said her landlord has turned off the heat every night for the 12 years she has lived in the rent-controlled apartment. She said she heats water in pots on the stove to warm the room closest to the kitchen in addition to sealing her bedroom window in plastic to keep out some of the drafts.

Puglla said it has been her “worst enemy” to “have no heat at night.”

It is so cold in the apartment that her poodle Teddy has to wear a coat indoors. “We’re like icicles,” she said.

In addition to using three or four blankets to cover her, Puglla said she has to wear socks, jogging pants and a sweater when going to bed at night.

Puglla has testified about her plight at a City Council hearing seeking to increase the penalties for landlords, who don’t provide heat. It is an issue that continues to effect thousands. Since October, the 311 call center has received over 150,000 heat and hot water complaints.

According to Puglla, her landlord has not been penalized because city inspectors only come during the day and not the night, when the heat is shut off. Her landlord refused to speak when contacted by CBS 2 on Tuesday.

Public Advocate Bill Deblasio said not having heat is simply “not acceptable.”

“It happens because the laws aren’t strong enough and some bad landlords are taking advantage of weak laws and we’re going to stop it we’re going to change the laws,” Deblasio said.

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