NEWARK - Housing inspectors were out Thursday making sure the city’s landlords are adhering to laws to keep the heat on for their tenants.
Landlords are required by law to keep the temperatures in their buildings at at least 65 degrees at night and 68 degrees during the day. The city has set up a hotline for residents to call if they feel their landlords aren’t keeping their homes warm enough.
Newark resident Teresita Hamlin called the hotline to report that her apartment was 41 degrees. She says that the boiler in her Fabyan Place home was not working. Hamlin lives in the home with her three grandchildren.
“I don’t like the conditions right now because it could make all of them sick,” Hamlin says. “It’s cold.”
When city inspectors went into the basement of the home, they found another woman and three other children in an illegal makeshift apartment. All but one of the power meters had been illegally bypassed and an unlicensed plumber was trying to repair the boiler, according to officials.
The man told inspectors he was trying to help the family out. But the inspectors told him the illegal work was actually putting the family in danger.
The family in the illegal apartment had somewhere else to go Thursday night. But the city inspectors say that removing people from apartments is not uncommon.
Another Newark resident called the hotline after her heat had been broken since October. When inspectors reported to the Bergen Street home, they found the indoor temperature to be 38 degrees. Martha, the tenants was wearing layers of winter clothes.
Martha will be getting a hotel for the weekend, which is being paid for by her landlord.
Newark residents can contact the No Heat Hotline by calling 973-733-6471.