ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Since Monday, residents at the Block 75 student housing complex on Washington Avenue have been without running water, and by day four on Thursday, tensions are running high.

“No solution, no compensation, no apology, and it just keeps on happening over and over again,” says one anonymous student, nicknamed “L”.

The student housing complex owned by Varsity Campus first lost water Monday when a pipe burst on the first floor. A statement from the Block 75 general manager claims staff “immediately contacted our plumbing vendor to make the necessary repairs which were completed Monday afternoon.”

However, the UAlbany students living in the building tell NEWS10 the problem actually exploded into a crisis Tuesday after that first attempt at a fix went disastrously wrong.

“A huge flood happened on the first floor, and when I say huge, I mean there was about an inch of water and the water was spewing out of the ceiling. Evacuating, actually I had to walk under the water in order to reach an exit,” says another anonymous resident, nicknamed “K”.

A warning notice was posted on the front of the building Tuesday night by the City of Albany Department of Buildings and Regulatory Compliance stating the building was not up to code and therefore was “unsafe for human occupancy or use”. Residents later received an email from Block 75 claiming they could return to their units after Albany code officers had inspected the building’s sprinklers and elevators, and management has since given out gallon jugs of drinking water. However, residents say it’s not enough.

“One milk jug-sized water isn’t enough, even for drinking water I think, because it’s been days. It may be enough to flush your toilet one time by refilling the back, but then you’re back to no water. You really have to choose between using water to drink or to flush your toilet,” says a third anonymous student, nicknamed “O”.

“I know a couple of people with health problems in the building. Crohn’s, IBS, and they’re having a really difficult time. They’re quite frankly living in unlivable, unsanitary conditions,” says “K”.

They add there are no portable bathrooms, hand washing stations, nowhere to shower, and no talk of compensation. Some students are under 21 and can’t get a hotel without another adult. Now, they’re all struggling to adapt.

“I literally go to, like, my friend’s apartment. Like, that’s what I did last night. I had to wash all my dishes over there, shower over there, and it’s really just such a hassle and inconvenience. It’s really hard because I can’t even cook in my apartment. I have to order food out all the time now,” says “L”.

“Some of the people living here, you know, they don’t have cars, they don’t have money to drop on a hotel room and some aren’t even old enough to get one, so like they’re relying on their parents and what if they don’t have that support? It’s really ridiculous,” “L” further explains to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.

“I’ve been having to either go to my gym or go across the street to campus just to be able to shower,” says “O”, who is also a former Block 75 employee.

It seems the plumbing is a persistent problem. “O” and one other anonymous employee, nicknamed “H”, both say the building has flooded or burst pipes once around April and twice in 2021.

“It was practically every year, something would happen with the plumbing. The company doesn’t have the money to fix it,” says “H”. “My heart hurts for them because these are kids, they’re children. Their parents were calling, calling, calling non-stop and no one was there helping me.”

“I think it’s definitely a building ownership issue. There’s only so much we could do in the office, and the person that owns the building has visited multiple times. He’s seen the building in very poor condition, but then he leaves and he’ll come back whenever,” adds “O”.

“They keep on saying, like, this is the last time it’s going to happen, but I think it’s going to happen, like, repeatedly, and I kind of want to get out of my lease at this point,” “L” also chimes in.

“H” also says the building has experienced heat issues, no residents have cable despite the service being included in the lease agreement, and the computer room advertised as an amenity hasn’t been operational since the April flood.

“When the last one happened, they only got two or three hotel rooms down the street for one night and told all 250 residents they had to take turns showering there. It took two months just to get the management to agree to reimburse their rent for the six days they didn’t have water,” says “H”.

“A week’s compensation does not equal a $500 renters insurance deductible or a week’s stay at a hotel,” says “K”.

All of these students and former employees asked NEWS10 to remain anonymous, fearing the complex might retaliate against them, but they say they do feel very taken advantage of.

“I do feel like they are taking this a bit lightly, because it’s a younger group of people. They are, in my opinion, being exploited, because they don’t have financial resources,” says “K”.

“I don’t understand how this is even legal at this point, because, like, we’re paying rent, a lot of money, and we don’t even get water,” says “L”.

NEWS10 has reached out to City of Albany Department of Buildings and Regulatory Compliance to determine if there is any disciplinary action to be taken against the complex or its parent company. The statement from Block 75’s management goes on to say:

At this time all functions of the building are in good condition, and we expect to be able to restore water on Friday, October 7th at which time we will allow the city code enforcement agent to complete their review and provide us with their feedback.

We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused our residents and will continue to work to provide a safe and enjoyable living complex.

Block 75 Management on behalf of Varsity Campus

UAlbany confirms the school is also aware of the issue and is monitoring to ensure students are provided for.