According to the National Multifamily Housing Council, New York City’s 1,533,107 apartments comprise approximately 50 percent of all housing within the city. With demand consistently outpacing supply and rent prices among the highest in the U.S., landlords in the city are notorious for cutting corners and costs with regard to safety.
The recent death of a 55-year-old woman, who died in her Brooklyn basement apartment, provides a tragic example of what can happen when a landlord fails to take steps to provide for the health and safety of tenants.
News reports indicate that the 55 year old died in her apartment after succumbing to carbon monoxide poisoning. The woman was discovered by her brother who also lived in the apartment with his wife. The man’s wife, who reported suffering a headache and sore throat, survived the noxious fumes in an air conditioned room.
According to a New York Daily News article, repair work had recently been completed on the apartment building’s boiler which police investigators contend was the source of the carbon monoxide leak. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that employees of the repair company that were hired to complete the repair work used tape to secure the boiler’s exhaust pipe to the unit.
When questioned about the tenant’s death, the building’s landlord was indifferent, insisting that “it’s not my fault.” This assertion, however, is far from the truth as building landlords in New York City are responsible for ensuring that all materials and components within and outside of an apartment are safe, properly maintained and hazard-free.