Rental properties nationwide have skyrocketed in price over the past few years, but New York City remains one of the most expensive markets in which to secure an apartment. Buildings that offer a range of luxury features and amenities can demand even higher payments.
On the surface, the Eleven33 apartment complex on Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn might appear to be one of those luxurious residences. Two-bedroom units can cost as much as $4,500 per month and residents have access to a fitness center as well as a roof deck with incredible views of the city.
According to tenants, however, they have been living with gas leaks that have made them sick and left them with no heat and no gas for their stoves. Dozens of residents have stopped paying their rent in protest of the conditions.
Marissa Manzanares, who has lived at the complex for seven years, explained: “I don’t know if I will ever use these units again, because I don’t feel safe. I had a space heater and a humidifier in one outlet, and it blew the fuses in my apartment so the electricity went out.”
She went on to share her belief that her son’s breathing problems were attributed to exposure to an extended period of gas leaks.
In response to the problems, property managers have reportedly begun loaning tenants hot plates on which they can cook their meals. As for the alleged gas leaks and lack of heat, however, complainants say the response from Eleven33 staff has been woefully insufficient.
While residents like Manzanares have resorted to using space heaters, such measures can be dangerous or even deadly. Earlier this year, a space heater was blamed for sparking a fire in an apartment complex in the Bronx that left 17 tenants dead.
All the while, the developer Domain Companies has benefited from the significant tax incentives that come from its participation in a program that offers some units at a reduced price for low-income tenants.
A statement from the company explained that it would not be offering any concessions “until we know the totality of the problem.”
Nevertheless, one Domain Companies executive provided a statement claiming that “the well-being of our Eleven33 residents is our top priority” and staff has communicated with affected tenants “directly on a regular basis.”