Letter: New Gateway plaza resident frustrated with bills

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DSC04538March 21, 2013 By Dr. Kim Lurie

I am a recent tenant at Gateway, displaced from Long Beach due to Hurricane Sandy.  After losing my nearly all of my possessions, being evacuated, and nearly 4 months in a hotel, I choose to take up residence at 355 South End Avenue.

Tomorrow, Friday, March 22, 2013, I will be here 5 weeks. To say that this experience is frustrating is putting in mildly. On my first 3 days of tenancy my one bedroom apartment, it had ZERO HEAT.

It was a holiday weekend and I had moved on the Friday and Saturday. By the time we had everything in and turned on the heat, I noticed that the living room heater was not blowing any air whatsoever. Friday and Saturday, I was forced to stay at my hotel.

By Sunday, having no way to contact management till Tuesday, I was able to have the doormen get someone upstairs to “replace the unit” with one that blew lukewarm air. I was “told’ that “that is how these units work.” That was day 3 of my residence.

Since then I have had a dangerous hole in my terrace which a family member nearly broke their ankle on, a foul order of paint or turpentine each time I shower and the steam/heat hits the bathroom, neither the front door nor the terrace door opened properly, a backed up kitchen sink, electric sockets that don’t work and a baseboard heater in the bedroom which unbeknownst to me, was not controlled by the electrical unit, has no independent switch and had been running 24 hours a day for over 1 month, until a worker used a screw driver to shut it off last week.

Upon 13 days of residence, I received a bill for my electric usage of $218. Of those 13 days, I actually stayed in the apartment 7 days. Of those 7 days, 12 hours a day I was out of the home…how in the world can my electricity for 13 days be $218. I shutter to think what my bill is going to be at the end of this month, particularly since the baseboard had been running continuously.

Although, the office is aware of these issues and they have in fact addressed several of them, the foul odor, the hazardous terrace hole and the insane electricity bill have yet to be remedied. I was forced to pay another ½ month rent for March 1, having moved in 2/15. Despite the fact that their website say “new tenants receive ½ month free on all on bedrooms” and that my space was heat free and is still hazardous, this advertised special was not honored.

I am now seeking the services of an independent air quality specialist to see what poison, carcinogen or lead, I might be inhaling daily from the fumes in my bathroom.

Be rest assured, this is far from a “rent controlled” apartment and with the money the building has already received and my anticipate yearly rent and additional $6,000 yearly ($500 monthly) electric bills, this apartment should have not be rented in this condition.

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