A 340-unit apartment building in Newark has been without hot water for the last eight days, forcing tenants to boil water or go to other residences during a pandemic to bathe, the tenant association said.
Only building B at Pavilion Towers, which includes two apartment buildings on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, has been without hot water, said the complex’s tenant association president, Janise Afolo.
“We are in a COVID pandemic,” Afolo told NJ Advance Media on Saturday. “How are these people able to take care of themselves if they can’t properly wash their hands, or do what they need to do?”
The property management company, Salman Capital, did not respond to a request for comment via phone and email. A recording at the property management office’s phone line said it’s closed on weekends. A man who was handling the phones for emergency repairs took a message from NJ Advance Media.
Temperatures have dipped below freezing most days in Newark this week.
Central Ward Councilwoman LaMonica McIver said a code enforcement officer has been at the building since the problem first began. The building has already received eight citations, which usually include a fine, she added.
“This excessive at this point, and this is unacceptable,” McIver said.
She said the property manager told city officials they fixed the problem, but then residents would reach out to her office each day and say the water became cold again. The councilwoman added that she’s working with the tenants to put in a request to the rent control board to get a reduction in rent because of the issue.
Afolo, the building’s tenant association president, said she’s reached out to the property management office, but hasn’t gotten a response. She said there have been recurring problems with the water, like it being shut off without notice in the morning, for the last two years.
James Powell, a resident at Pavilion Towers, said he’s had to manage boiling water for showering over the last eight days. Powell sits on the rent control board and said he would consider recusing himself from the Pavilion Tower’s issue if needed.
“You boil as much water as you can and try to make it not that warm so that you can shower,” Powell said. “… It’s like an hour of boiling water, so it takes it toll.”
Tenants in Newark who are experiencing similar issues with utilities can report it to the city by calling 973-733-4311. To report heating issues in other municipalities, visit nj211.org.
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Rebecca Panico may be reached at email@example.com.