CROWN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn –– Beverly and her family have been living in a rent-stabilized, three-bedroom apartment in Crown Heights for 43 years.
She knows this place like the back of her hand, but unfortunately, over the last few weeks, Beverly says she's gotten to know her microwave a little too well.
"I'm just using the microwave and the toaster oven," she said. "Basically I have to bathe with it. I have to boil water from a bowl."
In addition to lacking hot water, Beverly says she's also been living with no cooking gas.
Beverly says she hates it.
"You're not living with this," she said. "You're not living. And when we had a few cold days, you can't when it's real cold, alright? And now, bathing – I really can't go anywhere because I really can't bathe myself."
According to her, all of this is the result of a landlord who determined to make her life miserable in the hopes replacing her with market-rate tenants. But even her market-rate-tenant neighbors, who have heating problems of their own, have joined their cause.
"I think he wants more people like us, but we didn't think he would be so aggressive in how he feels about other tenants being treated even worse than we are," said Reine Couberchl, a resident of the building. "But he is looking to I think raise the price of rent."
Residents at the building, at 80 New York Ave., have banded together to form a tenant association waging their battle in the State Supreme Court and in the court of the public opinion.
"Unfortunately my experience is not an uncommon one throughout our city," Beverly said.
NY State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman asked Lisa Mathis to speak at a news conference Wednesday as he announced a new bill to target landlords accused of harassing their tenants.
"With this legislation, we have that ability," Schneiderman said. "My office, the district attorney's offices will be able to prosecute the most egregious cases of tenant harassment."
The landlord at 80 New York could not be reached for comment.