A new Comptroller’s report has found that the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) (The Projects) failed to properly maintain its roofs and wasted millions of dollars on repairs because staffers had no clue they were covered under warranty. According to a report in the New York Post, City Comptroller Scott Stringer said NYCHA “is essentially lighting money on fire by investing millions in roof repairs” when it didn’t have to, and at a time when it is spending a significant amount of money testing public housing units for the presence of toxic lead paint.
Dangerous Living Conditions
Inspectors from the Comptroller’s Office found that NYCHA failed to properly maintain 19 of the 35 roofs they checked at 13 of the authority’s developments. The deficiencies included ponding water, soft and spongy spots, blisters, sagging roof conditions, open seams at the edges of the base flashing on rooftop structures and damaged masonry. The failures also provide ideal conditions for toxic mold to grow in buildings, the Comptroller’s audit said.
NYCHA is under a court order to clean mold out of apartments, but has struggled to complete repairs because of leaky roofs and dilapidated pipes that are prone to bursting. Inspectors also found NYCHA staffers performed unauthorized repairs that were not in compliance with the roof’s warranties, and that two-thirds of its managers interviewed were not aware that their roofs had warranty. Further, NYCHA failed to track maintenance, repairs and warranty paperwork.
This report is NYCHA’s latest headache. Last week, federal monitor Bart Schwartz released a report revealing new deficiencies including a leaking drainage pipe at Harlem’s Polo Grounds Towers that went unrepaired for two months. NYCHA was partially taken over by federal authorities after a settlement in January when prosecutors alleged the agency’s officials mat have lied for years about lead poisoning, lead inspections and unsafe living conditions in “the Projects.”
Poor Living Conditions and Premises Liability
Poor living conditions in NYCHA apartments or “the Projects” have been well documented. In January, an 8-year-old girl was hospitalized with burns and bruises after a pipe in her family’s apartment at Queensbridge Homes on Long Island broke, spewing scalding steam on her hand. The broken bathroom pipe that was leaking hot water was not repaired several hours after the child’s mother called NYCHA to complain.
The girl also slipped and fell on the water that covered the bathroom floor, further injuring herself. There have been numerous other reports in “the Projects” regarding busted walls and pipes as well as lead paint in thousands of apartments where young children live. The agency has already begun lead paint testing in 135,000 public housing apartments citywide. Getting rid of lead paint in the public housing is a formidable and extremely expensive challenge for NYCHA. The Comptroller’s report detailing the waste of money on roofs that were covered by warranties is disappointing, to say the least.
Property owners and managing agents have a responsibility to ensure that roofs, walls, pipes and other structures on the premises are properly inspected, repaired and maintained at all times. Property owners and/or property managers may be held liable for injuries caused by roof cave-ins, burn injuries caused by hot water, steam or scalding as well as for slip-and-fall accidents caused by leaking pipes or other dangerous conditions, which should have been repaired in a timely manner. Worn or broken parts must be repaired or replaced promptly. Property owners and managers have a duty to ensure that their property is safe for all tenants, visitors and guests.
Victims of injuries caused by dangerous conditions on the premises can file what is known as a premises liability claim against the property owner and/or manager. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages including, but not limited to, medical expenses, lost income and benefits, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitation, surgery, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc. Families of deceased victims in such cases can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation as well.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
If your child has been affected by lead poisoning or suffered other injuries due to negligent (careless) premises maintenance, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you.
Our firm recovered $1,162,500 for a child who suffered lead poisoning from paint in her apartment. The child’s injuries were subtle and difficult to recognize. We recovered $162,500 above the $1 million dollar total insurance policy in this case. Despite the judge’s efforts to settle the case for $950,000, we fought hard and recovered $162,500 more than the insurance full policy of one million dollars. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
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