Bed Stuy Residents Without Heat for 17 Years

Residents of a Section 8 apartment building in Bed Stuy have lived without heat for at least 17 years, DNAinfo reported. Shinda Management Corp. took over management of 305 Decatur Street in 2005 but has neglected to fix the problem. The company also locked laundry and public rooms, citing “drug activity.”

“For me to have a decent place to live, warm, secure,” Collette Wright, 55, told DNAinfo. “That’s a basic human right, and Shinda deprived me of that right over and over.”

Wright, a tenant activist who’s lived in the building since 1996, says she had to fight to get baseboard heating installed in her apartment in August. This is the first winter she’ll have heat since moving in.

Heating and new boilers were supposed to be installed in 2008, but it never happened. Several other residents of 305 Decatur say Shinda had promised their heating would be installed, but still don’t have any kind of heating system.

The building is located in Stuyvesant Heights and dates from the 1890s. It was a Building of the Day in February.

“You dread every winter,” Wright said. “Have you ever been so cold that you’re under your covers and you feel the cold on your eyeballs?”

Bed-Stuy Building Has No Heat for At Least 17 Years, Residents Say [DNAinfo]
Building of the Day: 305 Decatur Street [Brownstoner]

Photo by Christopher Bride for PropertyShark

18 Comment

  • Absolutely ridiculous, especially since the HPD has been involved for years. Nor are they able to get mail since the mailboxes aren’t functional.

    I assume no one here has paid rent for years either but nor should they.

    But hey, DeBlahsio will fix all of this, right?????

  • I do not know the facts and LL very well might be scum of the earth BUT there is more to this story, I guarantee it.
    It is simply not possible to own a building in the City of NY and not provide any heat for 17 years. Not possible.

  • Cheap shot at DeBlasio, Dave, the man hasn’t even taken office yet. Yet if someone had said, “this is Bloomberg’s fault,” you know, the guy who’s been mayor for 12 of those 17 years, you’d be all over them.

    There’s probably quite a story here, from both sides, but the result is unacceptable. I don’t care who did what to whom, no heat in a building full of tenants, many of whom have small children is just unacceptable and wrong. Work out your differences in court, or with the help of any number of advocates and agencies. You don’t deny people a decent place to live. We haven’t even gotten to the fire hazard that having no heat means, and the miracle that the building hasn’t burned down.

    • One would think someone of your stature is above replying to cheap shots!!!!

    • I don’t know if its a ‘cheap shot’ But I agree that it is only fair to give Deblasio a chance. I think Bloomberg was the best Mayor this city has ever seen and I cringed and railed at every ridiculous shot that Bill took at him and his legacy; BUT
      I am a New Yorker and just like I root for every president to succeed because I am an American, I root for Deblasio to have success in keeping NYC great and growing. I doubt that his planned policies will do that but I am not an ideologue, if his policies keep crime low, quality of life improving, and the economy moving then great, I will be his biggest supporter and if his policies don’t achieve that then maybe he’ll adjust and I will still support him. But until I see that his administration isn’t working and he is unwilling or unable to change, I will root for Bill Deblasio.

      • If Deblasio actually ran something besides a 2 Mil budget in the Public Advocate office with 4 staffers and had a record of success, maybe he wouldn’t be second guessed out of the box. But OK, we’ll see. If he is going to stop the Stop/Frisk Policy, I want to know what he is going to replace it with? Unchecked, gangbangers can start carrying again without any fear. Maybe he’ll do a Emanuel/Chicago style negotiation with them, oh wait crime there is soaring. Never mind. Enough of this mindless banter, we’ll se this time next year we we are at.

      • you all know this is Dinkins Redux don’t you – sell now and sell fast before its too late – last one out shut the lights

  • I agree with brklynmind – there are certainly more facts here than have been presented. No heat for “at least 17″ years sounds too fantastical to believe. In the DNAInfo story, they noted that HPD said in Sept. that “heat has been unevenly distributed based on the large volume variances in the sizes of different apartments.” Does this mean “no heat” or “uneven heat”? It can’t be determined without knowing the specifics. But beyond the probability that this company – Shinda – does not manage their properties with the highest degrees of moral guidance, where have the advocacy groups been for the past 17+ years?

    • So true. I can hardly believe most stories being reported in the media today. Most of them are at the very least embellished and many, just outright made up. Not saying there isn’t a big problem here but journalistic reporting these days needs to be taken with a gigantic mound of salt.

    • As Dave said, a lot of what we read is embellished or it is the story from one side only. I’ve seen stories printed online that get picked up in countless places and the facts were either rigged or they were made up – but no one has the time to check the truth of these stories, and like with email, these things get forwarded on and on and on. Was the journalist able to determine that what this woman was saying is true? or did he take the woman’s word for a good story? I expect there is a mix of truth and fiction in this woman’s statements. A more likely story is that the heat’s worked on and off for a long period of time – maybe the 17 years she states – it runs for a few years and then one year it stops and then takes a long time to get repaired. That sorta thing. If, as the story claims, she had absolutely no heat and wanted heat for 17 years and could not get it at all, then this woman has truly fallen through the cracks and I really feel sorry for her – she has no family who can help, no political representatives who will “truly” assist, no advocacy groups who can stand up for her, and no capacity to get relief from the folks running the Section 8 Housing program.

  • One of our resident engineers and long time posters can’t seem to logon but pointed out to me that, if this building was without heat for 17 years, surely all the pipes would have frozen and burst in at least one of those many winters

  • I wonder if Collette had paid any rent at all in the past 17 years…most likely not. In my world, living for free in NYC for 17 years is not a bad deal even if you don’t get heat.

    • I was waiting to see how long it would be before somebody made it her fault, and assumed she didn’t pay rent and was living “free.” I’d love to see how “free” they’d feel spending even one week with no heat in the dead of winter.

      Why must some people always assume someone is getting something for “free” with nothing to go on as evidence? Being so poor that you can’t get any kind of help, are too poor to do anything about it yourself, like hire an independent plumber to at least look at it, and certainly too poor to move, is hardly a “freeing” experience.

  • It was only a few years back maybe 2009 that this building had a big renovation. Somethings seems a little strange about this story. 15 years without heat is just wrong!

  • I am a property manager of several buildings in Brooklyn and Manhattan and brklnmind has it right. It is impossible to not have heat in a building for 17 years…totally impossible. If a boiler goes out and it takes repairmen more than a day or two to fix it the city comes down on the LL like a hammer. Only one of our buildings has ever had the heat go out in all my years of working here because we maintain our equipment very well but even then we brought in a truck that is essentially a portable boiler. There is way more to this story.

  • Impossible! With no heat for 17 years the water pipes would have cracked,the toilets frozen over, the waste lines woulfd have burst and the plaster would have come off the lathe. Maybe there have been problems with the heat, but the claim of 17 heatless winters is incredulous.