Sunday, January 10, 2010 - By Nicole D'Andrea - 1 comment

Landlords, the heat is on

Brooklyn mom, Penny Fearon has received some recent press attention for her efforts with her recently launched website,

Fearon hopes to bring public awareness to New York City residents who are left cold inside their own apartments due to negligent landlords.

In The New York Daily News article, "Brooklyn mom Penny Fearon's Web site turns up heat on slumlords," Fearon's quest to get some much needed heat to local residents turned into a bit of a mud slinging attempt from Mitchell Posilkin, general counsel for the Rent Stabilization Association of NYC. He said in the article that heatwatchnyc is likely to do more harm than good.

The argument against Fearon's efforts is that 311 in New York is already doing a good job and posting heat related concerns on heatwatchnyc, is not getting people results.

In a recent phone interview, Fearon stated that she is in no way trying to draw people away from 311. In fact, she notes that at the top of her website, people are encouraged to first go to 311 before reporting any heat complaints on her site.

Fearon continued to explain that when she had a heat issue in her apartment, she called 311 and was given a written documentation of her complaint -- something she said gave her security that the issue would be fixed.

>when an issue like this is reported to 311 in New York, the The Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) will take measures to ensure the heat and hot water is restored<

The pressure is not intended for 311 through Fearon's site, but rather for the landlords to have more accountability.

Fearon's website is a public forum for people to report about negligent landlords and inhumane living conditions caused by lack of heat and hot water -- something she feels all humans have the right to.

Fearon summed up the passion behind her work, "People can complain all day about how cold they are and unless the landlords are looking it, nothing will be done."

She is offering another way to help citizens publicly document their quality of life concerns and her website is proof that transparency is the key to getting things done.

Already, her website has helped people get their heat turned back on and she's spent all her free time working with residents to make this happen. She advises users to call 311 to file a formal complaint while also reaching out to their landlords to reiterate that New York has a mandatory law that no people should be denied heat.

Her efforts as a citizen working -- for free -- to help other citizens is yet another part of the Community 2.0 picture and should be applauded!

above photo credit: Mecea for News
Penny Fearon (with computer).

Check out her interview with New York WABC:

Read more:

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  1. It's all about the severity of the laws, the punishments, and the enforcement. There are parts of the country where the last thing landlords want to do is it support los angeles their tenants for a year because they were penalized by the housing department

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