PATERSON, NJ – The folks who live in the five-story apartment building at 282 Broadway have grown accustomed to some problems at the building. The broken windows, the front door that jams, the infestation of bed bugs – those are some of the annoyances they have learned to adapt to handling.
But last Friday afternoon brought a jarring change, tenants say. That was when they turned on their faucets and only cold water came out. In some apartments, even the cold water only came in a trickle. And along with no hot water, there has been no heat, they said.
When temperatures dropped to unseasonable lows on Monday night, many tenants used their stoves to keep warn. Some visited relatives to take showers. Dirty dishes have piled up in their sinks.
“It’s ridiculous,’’ said Lisa Lopez, who shares a fifth floor apartment with her mother, Antonia. “We’re human beings. We should be treated better than this.’’
“He’s a slumlord,’’ said Barry Gatewood, another tenant, who said he has lived in the building between Summer and Auburn streets for 37 years. “He doesn’t fix anything.’’
“You got women, children and elderly living here,’’ said another tenant, Alvin Burden. “This is unfair.’’
Paterson’s Health and Human Services Director Donna Nelson-Ivy said she only learned of the situation on Tuesday afternoon when contacted by PatersonPress.com. Ivy said she would send a health inspector to the building on Wednesday. Residents said they had complained about the situation previously, but Nelson-Ivy said there was no record of their complaints.
A man who tenants identified as the building’s superintendent said pipes had broken on Friday and would be fixed Wednesday morning. The superintendent declined to give his name and did not want to answer questions about the situation.
Lopez identified the owners of the building as Kevco Realty. She said the company also goes by the name of Elvin Realty. No one responded to a voice message left at the company’s real estate management office.
Some of the problems at the building could prove life-threatening, according to the tenants. For example, Gatewood pointed out two malfunctioning fire escapes along the side of the building. The weights that are supposed to lower the fire escape’s ladder to ground level don’t work, he said. As a result, someone using the fire escape to flee in an emergency would have to jump roughly 15 feet to ground level.