PROSPECT LEFFERTS GARDENS — New York City residents are turning up the heat on landlords who are leaving them out in the cold.
There have been more that 66,000 heat complaints filed with the city since the beginning of the "heat season" on Oct. 1 — that is 11,000 more than the same time last year from tenants who say they are forced to bundle up, buy space heaters and sleep with coats on.
City code mandates that landlords must keep their buildings reasonably heated — 68 degrees during the day and 55 degrees at night — from Oct. 1 to May 31 if the air temperature falls within certain parameters.
One building, 170 Hawthorne St. in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, has racked up 129 complaints to the city's 311 system since the beginning of the season.
The building, which was constructed in 1941 and has 78 units, has six open heat violations with the Dept. of Housing and Preservation Development. It also has 192 other violations involving mice, vermin, bed bugs and roaches.
"It's ridiculous," said Anne Pollydore, 80. "I bundle up, I wear tons of layers, I sleep under three big blankets — and I'm still cold."
Pollydore was huddled in her apartment on a recent Monday afternoon wearing two pairs of pants, two sweaters and a blanket.
"Feel my hands," she said. "They're freezing."
Pollydore said her landlord, Moses Eckstein, turns on the heat for about 15 minutes from time to time but it is never enough to heat the entire apartment — or to keep her warm.
Eckstein did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Another resident, Pierre Marsal, 57, said he wears his coat to bed at night to keep warm.
"It's like this every year," he said. "At times we are freezing in here."
The building is one of 11 in the city where residents have logged more than 100 complaints about heat in the last 10 weeks.
There have been 239 complaints about heat at 2955 Grand Concourse in the Bronx but only one remains open. The building has 104 other open violations involving mold, chipped paint and water leaks.
A building at 34 Arden St. in Inwood has the city's most 311 complaints — 287 — but DNAinfo New York visited the building and found it to be warm. The building has 39 open violations, but none are heat-related.
DNAinfo New York mapped the five buildings with the most heat complaints in each borough.
Residents at 170 Hawthorne St. are determined to get management to turn up the heat.
Brenda Chamblis, 69, who described her landlord as "one of the worst" said she calls the city to complain when it gets really cold and encourages her neighbors to do the same.
She has lived in the building for more than 30 years and said conditions are terrible — and only getting worse. In order to keep warm Chamblis uses several floor heaters that hike up her electricity bills.
"I'm a senior of a fixed income," she said. "I should not have to pay for heat."