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Tenants say Battery Park City apartments lack insulation

This winter was a rough one for New Yorkers, but residents of an apartment complex in Battery Park City say they were especially chilled because of the building's construction flaws. The 1,700-unit building was opened in 1986, and according to a class action lawsuit, temperatures in the apartments dropped so low that frost accumulated on the walls.

A developer, two management companies and the Battery Park City Authority are being sued by the 5,000 tenants, who are seeking $100 million in compensation for additional heating costs. The suit claims that the building lacks proper insulation, and tenants have to use space heaters to protect against the frigid winds that hit the building from New York Harbor.

A spokesperson for one of the management companies said that the lawsuit was meritless and that the building meets the city's heating standards. He went on to say that tenants were responsible for heating costs, and that electrical billing is overseen by the Battery Park City Authority, which owns the property where the apartment complex is located.

While the lawsuit is a class action, the lead plaintiff is an attorney who formerly worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She claims that in order to survive this past winter, she had to wear extra layers of clothing inside her apartment and use the gas stove for heat.

Landlord-tenant disputes over building defects and repair costs often involve multiple parties and require careful negotiations. These disputes are rarely simple. Readers in New York may want to check back for updates as this particular case unfolds.

Source: New York Daily News, "Battery Park City apartment dwellers sue for $100 million over chilly units," Barbara Gross and Ginger Adams Otis, April 2, 2014

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