It's cold in January in New York City. So, on the coldest day of the new year when residents of a half dozen public housing buildings had neither heat nor hot water, it was more than a minor inconvenience.
But Mayor de Blasio still touted in a press conference earlier this week that 10,000 tenants had services restored by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) in nine hours as opposed to the 11-hour agency average.
The mayor also responded to a Twitter blast from a department chief at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
In a barrage of all caps, she tweeted, in part, "WITH ALL DUE RESPECT, PEOPLE SHOULD NOT BE GRATEFUL BECAUSE THEIR HEAT & HOT WATER WAS TURNED BACK ON FASTER THAN BEFORE. THESE ARE BASIC HUMAN CONDITIONS & EXPECTATIONS FOR ALL AMERICANS."
De Blasio's response was "amen," but also qualified that the city was making progress. This most recent outage follows last winter's crisis of over 80 percent of public housing tenants enduring hot water and heat outages.
While a single day enduring frigid temperatures might not rise to the level of negligence, it's not apparent that the outage was only a day long. One 21-year-old Castle Hill tenant told the New York Post that the heat in the building had been out for "like a week" despite the location not showing up on the agency's outage site until Tuesday.
If you are a private tenant or public housing resident who suffered injuries or damages due to a landlord or city agency's failure to adequately heat the premises, you might have a legitimate claim for damages.