Moving Mayhem: Expired Leases and Relocation Plans Run Afoul Of Gas Shortages and Power Outages


Joanne Russo felt a sense of panic when she awoke on October 29 to a rain-soaked, wind-battered city and reports that the worst was yet to come. It wasn’t the storm anxiety causing hearts to race around the city—Ms. Russo and her roommate were scheduled to move that morning. Their lease was up on October 31st and their landlord had been unpleasantly insistent that they clear out early. The couple who were moving into their apartment had left their place the week before and were living in a temporary unit downstairs. Ms. Russo felt that she couldn’t stay until after the hurricane, but she wasn’t sure if she could leave either.

“The last thing we wanted was to get stuck,” said Ms. Russo. “We were afraid the movers would bail on us and then we wouldn’t be able to leave for days.”

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She was relieved when Imperial Moving called at 8 a.m. to say that they would be there in an hour. As businesses shut down and traffic vanished, the movers emptied the women’s two-bedroom on East 31st Street and carted their belongings to their new sixth-floor apartment at 20th Street and First Avenue. They finished shortly before the electricity went out and the elevator shuddered to a stop. Ms. Russo knows she was lucky, even if she and her roommate can only unpack in the daylight, hauling the empty boxes down the darkened stairwell.
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