A terrible experience living an apartment at St. Lukes In The Fields Church Apartments in the West Village of New York City

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(the above image shows how much mud flooded into our child’s bedroom while living in a St Lukes in the Fields apartment in the West Village of New York City on Hudson Street, and NOTHING was ever done to clean the mud, we had to arrange this, and MONTHS LATER a huge layer of black mold would be found on the wall behind the radiator (the only reason the wall was checked was from my request)

(the following quotes are from “others” regarding St Lukes In The Fields Apartments and not us)

“…in the 1940’s or 1950’s they tore down all the building’s of St Lukes because they were considered such health hazards…”

“…management doesn’t take care of a problem until it’s too late…”

“…are you moving out of here and suing like every other tenant is forced to these days?”

“…I knew of a tenant who lived there whose entire basement floor had eroded, there was no floor left, because of the moisture…when the tenant asked management for help with their problem they told them they were crazy…when a building inspector came to inspect the apartment he said “this is one of the worst cases of mold I’ve seen in my life”…”

“…my apartment flooded multiple times and it wasn’t until I called the City to inspect the apartment that management finally did something…”

“…Maureen told me she was going to evict me from my property because I was complaining about management…the next 48 hours were the most stressful hours of my life…it wasn’t until I spoke with a real-estate lawyer that I discovered Maureen’s threats were completely bogus and unfounded…”

“…someone I spoke with there’s next door neighbor’s kids both got asthma while living in their basement apartments…they said they felt it was from the moisture and mold in the apartment…”

(end of quotes from others)

The following is a quick summary of the issues we experiences living at 491 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, in the basement apartment. 

* Our apartment flooded and it turned out the past tenants of apartments had many floods too.

* Nothing was done to clean the apartment after the flood.

* A huge layer of black mold developed behind our radiator where the flood came through the wall.

* We developed most of the major signs of mold sickness.

* We had a “newborn” living in the room that was flooded.

* We had literally no heat in part of the house. When Maureen in management was told by the property manager we didn’t have enough heat she said “I don’t want to pay for that,” the manager told us.

* On numerous occasions people came in our apartment “without” alerting us ahead of time. Sometimes they would leave the apartment door unlocked after, and open, thank God our cat didn’t run on the street.

* Management seemed to be uneducated in housing issues, unprofessional, and an absolute nightmare to deal with.

* Many things in the apartment, a housing inspector told us, were not up to code and not safe.

* Every “single” tenant I’ve spoken to who has lived there has found management to be unorganized and what one person said to me was, “every time they come in my apartment they make things worse.”

* There have been lawsuits in the past over mold and we were told numerous “children” became sick from what they believe was exorbitant amounts of moisture and mold when living in the apartments.

We’re going to write in detail about our horrible experience living in a St Lukes in the Fields apartment but we’ll do a quick run through here.

* Immediately upon moving in we noticed a strong musty smell on the basement level floor of our duplex and it seemed to be coming from the rugs on the floor. The potential of moisture in a basement apartment really worried us because we were about to have a baby and obviously moisture in a basement could quickly lead to mold developing quickly.

* We alerted the director of management, Maureen O’Doyle, to the problem and her solution was to have the rugs cleaned. When I brought up the smell of moisture Maureen never mentioned any history of moisture in the apartment (though we’d later learn from past tenants there was a long history of flooding issues in the apartment.)

* We asked Maureen if we could pay for new floors and she agreed and said the Church would pay for 50 percent of the costs.

* We had someone from Home Depot come in to measure the exact square footage of the basement and we also had a moisture test conducted (while the rugs were still down in the basement.) 

* The moisture test came up very high. The next day Maureen had all the rugs in the basement ripped out (without consulting us on the timing of this and leaving a thin, cheap, cracked linoleum tile behind) and she had her own moisture test performed (after the rugs were removed) and her test came up low. We called Maureen and alerted her that our moisture test came up high but she told me hers didn’t. We tried to point out to her how our test was taken while the rugs were in and here’s were not and that the rug had obviously soaked up the moisture but Maureen didn’t see any concern in this.

* So now we were living in a duplex where we were left with an uninhabitable lower floor and a top flood completely jam packed with furniture and again we were soon expecting a baby, so the stress level was off the charts. Just take a look at the environment we were leaving in let alone 7 months + pregnant:

* The stress was so strong actually that one of us was admitted to a hospital because of our heart rate. When Maureen learned of this (from the property manager who we’d told in a casual conversation) for some psychotic reason Maureen took it upon herself to question if the visit to the hospital was true. So on top of being no help with our apartment and creating a large amount of the stress in our life she was now throwing salt in wounds, so you get a sense what type of person we were dealing with.

* We repeatedly asked Maureen and the property manager for help with the floors and were so worried the baby would come before the floors were completed and it would have been impossible to bring a baby home to this apartment in its state. But Maureen and the property manager were no help at all. At a certain point when we couldn’t wait any longer we ordered some beautiful bamboo floors and hired a very reputable floor installer. We oversaw this entire project from start to finish because we could get no help with putting floors down and the apartment was uninhabitable.

* When we told Maureen the price of the floors she balked and said she wouldn’t pay for 50 percent. It was Maureen’s idea to put down wood or laminate floor to begin with, she and management had offered no help getting the floors put down and the price of the flooring was actually low compared to your average floor costs. Telling to us was Maureen balking at the price was based on the fact she thought we were putting down new floors in one room when we were actually putting down new floors on the entire bottom floor! This is just one of the endless times Maureen would remember things incorrectly.

* The issue of the cost of the floors would be an extremely frustrating and stressful experience and Maureen was consistently unprofessional through the experience.

* Before the floors could even be completed we received a frantic phone call from the floor installer one morning saying the entire back bedroom had flooded full of mud, check out what it looked like:

See that mud in the top right area coming from under the radiator? That was nearly an inch high of mud that had flooded into the bedroom from the backyard. Hmm remember how we smelled moisture the very first day we moved in? And remember how Maureen’s response to our concern was to have the rugs cleaned? And remember how our moisture test came up very high? Makes sense now doesn’t it?

So how did the Church respond? How do you think they responded?

We showed the property manager the extent of the damage and told him the floor installer had been very clear he could complete no further work until the apartment was re waterproofed. Outside of this you’d think the manager would have know to completely clean the apartment out of any mud and puddles right? But NOTHING WAS DONE! We were left with that same muddy bedroom for over a week. So we’re living upstairs in the midst of all our furniture, about to have a baby, having Maureen balk at a deal she’d made, having Maureen be rude and unprofessional and now we’re left with a mud filled bedroom too! Each day we purchased 2-3 cans of Lysol and sprayed the carpet, hoping this would fight against mold developing.

And remember how we told the manager that we needed the apartment to be re waterproofed before the floors could be put down? You’d think after everything we’d been through they would set up the water proofer the next day? Well a week later an appointment had still not been setup and the manager told us it would be set up the next week. We ran into the manager days later and asked him what was going on with the water proofer and he happened to be walking out of the next door apartment with the water proofer (the next door apartment developed a bad mold problem from what we were told and tenants had to move out.) He goes oh okay yeah and sends them over. The appointment had not even been arranged yet if you can believe it. We had been told by many people who understood waterproofing that you needed to dig up to the base of the building and waterproof at that point. But all these guys did was spray some waterproofing seal at the top of our windows, so from what professionals told us, this was a pretty unprofessional and wrong way to address the problem.

It was at this point that we were told a huge bombshell that if we had any sliver of faith left in the Church (from naive optimism) would completely demolish it. The past tenants of our apartment reached out to us and told us that the apartment had flooded multiple times over the past years before we moved in. On top of this we learned there was a long history of these basement floor apartments flooding at the Church and people had gotten sick before, even children! So when we told Maureen we smelled a thick smell of moisture in the apartment it was no mystery to her or the Church about the potential health hazards we were facing in the apartment but they offered no mention of the history of moisture issues in the apartment…and this was the room my son would be sleeping in, can you believe how disgusting this is?

So we finally had our beautiful baby boy and tried to forget about our experience with the Church and enjoy ourselves and get back to our lives but this was pretty hard to do. Constant construction went on around us before legal hours, after legal hours, on weekends. The apartment next door we were told had pipes that were so old they had disintegrated and sewage had backed up into the floors and mold had grown. The apartment above us had suffered major rain damage over the years, and the past tenant had had to threat to call the Housing department before the Church agreed to work on the problem with them. We routinely had to send our baby to family homes to avoid all the construction dust. Do landlords have the right to renovate apartments? Of course they do but think about the conditions we just described. One apartment was so under cared for that mold came up through the floors and the other apartment was left so uncared for that a tenant had to threaten to call the Housing department to finally get anything done.

Next in our horrible experience was we noticed that we had no control of our upstairs heat. The apartment above us controlled our heat! This might not have been noticed if not for the fact the apartment was empty for months, nights, weekends, holidays, so for all these days WE HAD NO HEAT! We ate our thanksgiving dinner in wearing ski jackets! We alerted the property manager to this and he said he’d talk to Maureen about fixing this. But of course nothing was ever done. It was a cold winter so our downstairs started to get very cold too, some nights it was freezing in fact. Our son’s bedroom had a working heater THANK GOD but management didn’t know that, for all they knew he was sleeping in a freezing room. Finally our abundance of patience ran out (we could have called 311 endless times and should have) and we had a sit down with the manager. He tried to give us a story about the heat but we were very pointed and said the apartment was freezing and there was nothing else to discuss. We brought up how back in November we’d made it aware of the lack of heat on the top floor, and of the lack of heat on the bottom floor weeks later too. We asked why nothing was done about it and he’s response? “Maureen said she didn’t want to pay for it.” So let me repeat this. After the flooring disaster and the flooding disaster Maureen actually said no to a repair to give us adequate heat in our apartment, guaranteed under law no less. “Maureen said she didn’t want to pay for it.” Amazing right? What a disgrace.

We finally had new heaters put in downstairs but they said they wanted to wait on the upstairs. The downstairs heat worked perfectly at first but soon we’d find that every other day basically the heat wouldn’t come on. The manager gave us a key and we’d have to go ourselves each time to turn the heat on, what an annoyance.

During the months after the flood one of us had a serious issue breathing and we thought it was a chest cold and took Nyquil often but it wouldn’t go away. One of us also developed skin rashes and had endless migraines, all symptoms of mold sickness but we didn’t know that then.

Skip ahead a few months and we walk into my son’s bedroom, the same one that flooded a few months before and hundreds of bugs were crawling all over the place, it was disgusting. It turned out to be termites but they had such an easy path into our apartment under the radiator, the same place where the apartment had flooded.

It made us think what else was going on behind the radiator? We asked the manager to have the radiator removed so we could see what was behind it. When we removed the radiator a huge blotch of black mold, the worst kind from what we were told, plastered across the wall behind the radiator, right where the apartment had flooded months before and had never been cleaned or checked. It now made sense why we had been having such problems breathing, the migraines and the rashes.

The property manager had an air mold test performed (after they ripped out the wall of black mold themselves) and it came up high, to the point it could cause health issues. We wonder how much higher the report would have been if they had tested it with wall of black mold still there. Anyway it was obvious we had to vacate the apartment to have it fixed.

As you can imagine from what we’ve already written the Church and specifically Maureen’s response to the mold was unprofessional and clumsy and did nothing to ensure the mold wouldn’t grow back. We can tell you this though. From the moment we got the mold report we never had our baby spend a single moment in that apartment again. We were not going to trust the health of our child or ourselves to the Church for one more moment. Our feeling is the Church waits to the last minute to fix serious problems and then does the bare minimum to fix them. We hope this changes for future tenants health and wellness but as you can imagine we’d recommend you stay way clear of living in these apartments.

At some point in the future we’ll write of the aftermath but we did want to warn you to the problems we had living in St Luke’s Church’s apartments in the West Village. It was the single worst experience of our lives and from those who have contacted me many others have had a similar experience. We’ve even been told that children have gotten sick living in their apartments, for life ): Don’t be fooled to thinking because it’s a Church you’ll get treated really well. We found it to be run like a business, or more even a corporation where mum is the word when it comes to the history of problems in the apartments. 

 
Flooding in our child’s bedroom (inch high of mud) NOTHING WAS EVER DONE to clean it up or prevent it from happening again from inside the apartment. That’s right, we were left with AN INCH HIGH OF MUD SITTING IN OUR BEDROOM AND A PREGNANT WOMAN LIVING IN THE APARTMENT NO LESS…Not surprisingly our apartment would test positive for mold in the air months later, and the apartment next to us had to be vacated for mold too!

(the following quotes are from “others” regarding St Lukes In The Fields Apartments and not us)

“…in the 1940’s or 1950’s they tore down all the building’s of St Lukes because they were considered such health hazards…”

“…management doesn’t take care of a problem until it’s too late…”

“…are you moving out of here and suing like every other tenant is forced to these days?”

“…I knew of a tenant who lived there whose entire basement floor had eroded, there was no floor left, because of the moisture…when the tenant asked management for help with their problem they told them they were crazy…when a building inspector came to inspect the apartment he said “this is one of the worst cases of mold I’ve seen in my life”…”

“…my apartment flooded multiple times and it wasn’t until I called the City to inspect the apartment that management finally did something…”

“…Maureen told me she was going to evict me from my property because I was complaining about management…the next 48 hours were the most stressful hours of my life…it wasn’t until I spoke with a real-estate lawyer that I discovered Maureen’s threats were completely bogus and unfounded…”

“…someone I spoke with there’s next door neighbor’s kids both got asthma while living in their basement apartments…they said they felt it was from the moisture and mold in the apartment…”

(end of quotes from others)

This review is based on St Luke’s in The Fields apartments in the West Village of New York City (between Hudson St and Greenwich St and Christopher and Barrow), and their property management company, chiefly Maureen O’Doyle. St Lukes in The Fields apartments in New York City was reckless and careless in their management of our apartment and from what others have told us this is a long standing problem. St Lukes in The Fields should be embarrassed by what happened to us and how we were treated and we were happy to sit down to discuss this any day someone wants to. Put simply living in St Luke’s apartments was the worst experience of our lives and again many have told us for them too it was their worst experience. This isn’t just griping about an incompetent or classless manager (though we found Maureen to be both of these), we’re talking about serious problems here. We’ve been told that CHILDREN HAVE GOTTEN SICK living in St Luke’s apartments and that there was a lawsuit won against St Luke’s church around 10 years ago because of horrendous mold St Lukes refused to address and because of it a CHILD IS SICK FOR LIFE! And if one person went through the intense difficulties, costs and stresses that are involved with a lawsuit just imagine how many others probably have experienced the same problems but never realized what it was from or didn’t go through the pains of pursuing an action… Unfortunately we were told other children have gotten sick living in St Luke’s apartments as well as adults. One of us actually HAD BREATHING PROBLEMS, CONSISTENT HEADACHES, SKIN RASHES, CONSTANT FATIGUE, which are all symptoms of mold sickness (we’ll get into that later). Not surprisingly all of these symptoms almost completely went away in the months AFTER MOVING OUT OF ST LUKE’S APARTMENTS. Part of what is so scary is that there were serious problems in our apartment (moisture, mold in the air, apparent crumbling infrastructure,etc.) and yet the person who appears to be making the decisions for the Church (appears to be Maureen O’Doyle) is the last person We feel you’d ever want making those decisions (existing and ex tenants as well as practitioners of the Church and those who work there even freely discuss they don’t think she knows what she’s doing.) In the following days we’ll post our full experience living in St Luke’s apartments in the West Village of New York City and the accounts others gave us too of their experiences living there.

**** REST OF REVIEW COMING IN NEXT FEW DAYS

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