Coldest Day Of Year. No Heat On. Thanks, Slumlord Dermot Company.

The roach situation has improved, but Daniel still has to call the super every time he wants to take a shower. Also, on Sunday, when it was 21 degrees in New York, he didn’t have any heat until 6pm.

At the end of October, Daniel wrote us about the troubles he, and all the other tenants, were having with their building’s shady management company, Dermot Company. After his story posted here, Dermot called him, “jumping through hoops to kiss my ass,” as Daniel put it. He asked us to refrain from posting the news to make sure that they weren’t just making kissy kissy nice nice to put out the bad PR. We agreed, and Daniel’s instincts proved correct.

His update, inside…

Oct 30

One of the guys in their maintenance department just called up to schedule an exterminator appointment, said he’d check out the hot water issue, and was pleased to learn that after two weeks, my super finally came over last night and installed a smoke detector. He also gave me his personal telephone extension so that I wouldn’t have to deal with their maintenance line. He said he’d call me back later today to let me know when the exterminator is available.

-Daniel

Dec 2

Hi Daniel,

Just wanted to follow up and see how this situation turned out?

-Ben

Dec 3

Welp, shortly after the post on Consumerist was mentioned on Gawker, I got a call from someone in Dermot’s maintenance dept. who promised me he’d get all of these issues resolved as quickly as possible. (Gee, it only took embarrassing the company on the biggest blog in NYC to get their attention. How responsive!) He also gave me a direct number to reach him at so that I wouldn’t get caught in voicemail hell next time I have an issue needing attention. Thus far they have sent an exterminator, so my roach situation has improved. And they also had the super install a smoke detector.

However, the hot water is still on-and-off, and, as I discovered at a tenant meeting two weeks ago, the boiler is broken and needs to be repaired or replaced. Dermot is leaning towards replacement, meaning that I, and the other tenants, will be subject to paying for an MCI. i.e., I just moved into the building a month and a half ago, and now I need to shell out X amount of dollars to pay for the broken boiler. In the meantime, if there’s no hot water, I have to call the super to have him switch the boiler back on, because it keeps blowing out every 30 minutes. You can imagine how great I feel about having to call the guy first thing in the morning to tell him to roll out of bed and hit a switch so that I can take a shower.

Also, yesterday was the coldest day of the year so far, and there was no heat til nightfall. It was snowing, but my radiator didn’t come on til 6pm. Not heat in the morning. On a Sunday. I was freezing all day.

In addition, I also learned a few other things at the tenant meeting: No one in my building has ever reached anyone on the maintenance number, and they say that they’ve reporting the same issues to Dermot repeatedly since they took over the building, and that they have yet to be resolved.

Dermot sent a building manager to the meeting who sought to make every excuse for the lack of traction on any and all maintenance issues, saying that she has no idea why no one’s answering the maintenance line. After I tore her a new asshole, refusing to roll over for her corporate doublespeak, half the tenants came up to me and thanked me for standing up for everyone.

We were then told that we should take all our problems to the super, and not contact Dermot directly, even though during tenant orientation they tell us to leave the super alone and to take everything directly to the maintenance dept. We were also told that contacting the building manager directly was a very effective form of action, yet she refused to post her telephone number.

Another exciting tidbit: The previous super and her sons, who were fired when Dermot took over the building, have been sneaking back into the building and sabotaging utilities. The building manager told us to be on the lookout and not to let them into the building. I asked how I’m supposed to know what they look like considering that I just moved in. She said she wasn’t legally allowed to distribute their photos. Get that? Disgruntled ex-employees are attacking the electricity and gas in my building, but I’m not allowed to be shown who they are! Boy, that makes me feel safe.

There are also some questionable things happening with my lease — namely, it appears that Dermot misled me about the legal status of my apartment, telling me that it was rent stabilized when it actually is not — at least, according to my City Council rep. I’m currently investigating the matter with my attorney.

The Dermot disaster continues…

-Daniel

PREVIOUSLY: Stuck With Dermot Management, A Modern-Day Slumlord
More like Dermot Mismanagement [Orthodox Anarchist]

(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. JayXJ says:

    Sorry you are having to deal with this. Good luck.

  2. Beerad says:

    OP already seems to have a lawyer, but I’d be considering pressing legal action a bit more aggressively. IIRC, New York is pretty serious about forcing landlords to provide tenants with the basics (especially heat during the winter). It might be worth checking with the pro bono housing court staff — the office takes walk-ins, and the attorneys there really know the ins-and-outs of the law. They advise both tenants and landlords, and they’ll give you the straight dope about what’s legit and what isn’t. That’s my experience, anyway – your mileage may vary. In any event, make sure you keep good records of everything that’s going on, especially anything that anyone tells you.

  3. RosemarysBabyDaddy says:

    Um call 311. Incessantly. You’re welcome!

  4. goller321 says:

    What is MCI in reference to this comment”will be subject to paying for an MCI”? Why would tenants have to pay for any building related issues like this? Isn’t it a cost of being a landlord???

  5. Sidecutter says:

    I get the Gawker Artists banner for the guy sitting on his bed in a dirty tank-top undershirt and looking depressed with this story. Amusingly appropriate.

  6. Buran says:

    I say it’s time to move.

  7. EnviousJuno says:

    I cannot believe that the local politicians aren’t doing anything! I am FLABBERGASTED!!

  8. VespaVirgin says:

    Welcome to New York City. This has been the situation in at least half of the apartments I’ve lived in. You call 311, the dude comes over with the thermometer, landlord gets fined. That’s the only way to deal with this. Sure, your landlord will hate you, but he already does.

    At least at home you can stay in bed. We don’t have heat in our office.

  9. jln407 says:

    OMG…just happened upon this post by accident and cannot believe what I am reading. I, too, live at 121 Seaman! Same building, same issues (just moved in 2 months ago). Could never reach management company on phone for (1) roach issue (b) no hot water. In addition, although my apt is brand spankin new, the construction was done so poorly, the floors & windows are all sloped down slightly to the right. Crooked windows. Crooked floor. No heat this past Sunday!! Heat not working AT ALL in kitchen. Have to leave early from work today to let super in my apt to fix the hissing sound that emerges from radiators that do work.

    Keep posting on the rent stabilizing issue. Lease says it is.

  10. SVreader says:

    It’s time to break out the song-and-dance RENT numbers.

  11. Beerad says:

    @VespaVirgin: What, do you work in a meat locker? Even Ebenezer Scrooge let Bob Cratchit have a tiny coal fire!

  12. godai says:

    Rent Adjustments For Major Capital Improvements (MCI)

    “When an owner makes an improvement or installation to a building subject to the rent stabilization or rent control laws, the owner may be permitted to adjust the rent based on the actual, verified cost of the improvement or installation.

    “To be eligible for a rent adjustment, the MCI must be a new installation and not a repair to old equipment. For example, an owner may be entitled to an MCI adjustment for a new boiler or a new roof but not for a repaired or rebuilt one.”

    [www.dhcr.state.ny.us]

  13. Beerad says:

    @goller321: It depends — if the apartment’s rent stabilized (which sounds questionable in this instance in any event) the laws get all wonky and in some situations you can have the tenants pay towards the cost of improvements.

  14. OT #1: I have a feeling if Consumerist posted a story along the lines of “I went to buy a sandwich at Subway and the sandwich architect shot me in the face” some ass hat would post a comment along the lines of, “Serves you rite for being hungry. I have no sympathy for this guy.”

    OT #2: I miss Inwood, or “Upstate Manhattan” as we used to call it. You could actually smell trees and nature up there! Not even Central Park can pull that off.

  15. Electroqueen says:

    Man, even the Projects get heat AND hot water ALL the time…
    It’s kind of sad that for-profit housing is !@#@#!ier than government housing…

  16. Nytmare says:

    That excuse sounds just like the tale my paper boy once told me about the reason my paper sometimes didn’t show up was because those kids from the military installation outside our neighborhood liked to hop the fence and steal them off our porch. Unsurprisingly he grew up to be a cellphone salesman.

  17. Techguy1138 says:

    Next time that happens, suck it up, put a fan near an open window, and shut off the faucets.

    Call management. If the heat doesn’t come back on before the pipes burst you will have their rapt attention.

    When you call the state for assistance you can mention burst pipes for a little more weight in your complaints.

  18. Beerad says:

    @Chris Walters: Re #1: you’re totally right, and that observation made me larf out loud at my desk.

    Re #2: Take a visit to Prospect Park one day (unless you’re one of those “What other boroughs?” snobs) — another Olmsted design, and way better than Central Park in many ways. On a stroll through it one day I randomly saw a snowy egret hanging out in a stream. My head almost exploded. Who knew that wildlife actually existed in the city besides pigeons, subway rats, mutant sewer alligators and bedbugs?

  19. JKinNYC says:
  20. JKinNYC says:

    @Buran: Unfortunately, as was discussed in the original thread, NYC leases are a nightmare to break without costing $$$ and OP can’t afford that.

  21. mthrndr says:

    How much does he pay a month for this? Also, the thumbnail for this post is just wrong.

  22. DrGirlfriend says:

    The picture accompanying this article is kind of unappealing.

  23. jkaufman101 says:

    I see the slumlords Dermot Company doesn’t even have an email address on their website. I guess they don’t want their victims contacting them.

  24. kc-guy says:

    Suddenly my random-fee assessing landlord doesn’t seem to bad. Luckily, you will be nearby to follow up no matter how things work out, and have options to fight back.
    My landlord knew I was moving a over a thousand miles away, and didn’t mind taking out creatively conceived fees from my deposit, since it was unlikely I would fly to New Orleans to file a $300 small claims case.

  25. Electroqueen says:

    But a mob can invade their offices. Shame there aren’t enough tenants to protest.

  26. BigBoat says:

    Constructive eviction my friend.

  27. fum says:

    Does 311 work if you own your apartment? I live in a co-op and it FREEZING all the time. The co-op board says they are trying to fix it but this is my 3rd winter and I am too cold to wait. What can I do?

  28. tadowguy says:

    I shudder when I think that your rent is probably more than my $1300 mortgage payment.

  29. STrRedWolf says:

    WHOIS data points to Network Solutions owning the domains involved. No actual person to contact there w/o supoena of NS records, my guess.

  30. chartrule says:

    [www.megalaw.com]

    NEW YORK LANDLORD-TENANT LAW

    you should be able to find some sort of resource for almost any slumlord problem

  31. chartrule says:

    here we go – on the heating issue

    HEAT SHEET
    Heating Requirements for New York City
    In effect October 1 to May 31

    between 6am to 10pm temp outside less than 55 degrees than the inside temp must be more than 68 degrees

    between 10pm to 6am temp outside less than 40 degrees than the inside temp must be more than 55 degrees

    record the inside and outside temperature. Call the Weather Bureau at (212) 976-1212 to get the official outside temperature. Use a thermometer to take the temperature inside your apartment.

    Call the Central Complaint Bureau at (212) 824-4328 to register your complaint. You should call each day you have a heating problem. They are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    Write and call your landlord. Send letters by certified mail, return receipt requested and keep a copy of the letter. Keep a list of each date and time you called your landlord to complain.

    Consider organizing a tenant’s association and filing an HP Action against your landlord in Housing Court. If you live in a rent regulated apartment, consider filing a complaint with the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (718) 519-5678.

  32. mantari says:

    Your situation is sucky, but might I suggest: Move out of that horrible area and go live in someplace normal?

  33. jwissick says:

    You are a fool for not moving out. Break the lease. They are in breach. Find a habitable place outside of the USSR.

  34. RvLeshrac says:

    @jwissick:

    He can be liable for far, far, more than just the cost of the lease if he breaks it. You’re a fool for not knowing that breaking a lease can cost you several months’ rent, the loss of your security deposit, and more if the landlord decides to charge you a fee for every scuff on the floor.

  35. matt1978 says:

    @mantari: Glad to see that people still post unhelpful comments. Why didn’t you just tell him to grow a boiler from his torso?

  36. AndrewJC says:

    @RvLeshrac: The question I have, though, is that if the landlord already broke the terms of the lease by not providing heat as I’m SURE is stated in the lease agreement (my lease here in Connecticut states right there exactly when the heat will be turned on and under what conditions), then he should be legally allowed to move out without paying lease-break penalties, shouldn’t he?

  37. Sonnymooks says:

    I am familiar with demot. 

    They are kind of like pinnacle. Almost every measure that would work against a small mom and pop landlord, or small business type of management company, they are immune to.

     

    The politicians hate them, the city hates them, and they simply put don’t give a shit.

     

     

  38. sperle says:

    WOW, i used to live in a Dermot building and I can confirm their incompetence and shadiness. They would send completely wrong invoices when they knew they were having a problem in the accounting department. Any time we needed to call about a problem it was ring-around- the -voicemail. We complained about a building-wide bedbug problem and their genius solution was to just continue to send their monthly bugspray man with a vaccuum. There was a new property manager every few months. I mean it was completely ridiculous. Hence, we moved.