How Do I Force My Unresponsive Landlord to Make Needed Repairs?


Q: I live in a rent-stabilized apartment in a medium-dimension, prewar building in Brooklyn. A pair of months in the past, the ceiling in my shower started leaking. Then, a chunk of the ceiling previously mentioned the leak collapsed. The super coated the hole with cardboard but under no circumstances really fixed the leak or ceiling. I have referred to as quite a few times, and he usually claims “tomorrow” but never ever fixes it. I have also named management 2 times and sent images. The wall seems to be turning out to be moldy. The cardboard is beginning to tumble aside. What ought to I do?

A: There is pretty a whole lot you can do. Start off by contacting 311 to request an inspection from the Division of Housing Preservation and Progress. An inspector would most likely problem a violation, which might not address your issue instantly but would develop a paper trail of evidence.

“In general, acquiring violations positioned doesn’t do considerably,” explained Samuel J. Himmelstein, a Manhattan lawyer who represents tenants. “Landlords will almost never answer.”

At the very same time, file what is regarded as an HP continuing in housing court. It’s essentially a lawsuit filed towards the landlord, whereby you ask the court to purchase the repairs. “This is the fastest way to get it finished,” Mr. Himmelstein claimed. These scenarios have a tendency to move promptly, and the landlord typically settles and agrees to the repairs.

This system ought to certainly get your ceiling preset. Resolving the mold could possibly be a lot more complex. Mold remediation is not low cost and can from time to time be comprehensive. You would will need to demonstrate that you have mould, and your images by yourself will not be sufficient. You would also have to employ the service of your possess pro to ascertain the extent of the challenge and make tips for remediation, Mr. Himmelstein claimed. Mold can pose severe health and fitness dangers, so, if you are involved about it, you could want to get this excess stage.

You must also be entitled to a rent abatement for this interval of time. Start off by asking the landlord for a single. If your ask for is rebuffed — as it possibly will be — you can withhold rent entirely. If the landlord took you to housing court docket for nonpayment, your protection would be that the disorders violated your warranty of habitability, a point out rule. You would eventually have to pay back again some of the rent for that interval of time, but not all of it.

Nonetheless, after your ceiling is fixed, you may come to a decision that the hire abatement is not truly worth the headache of a further day in courtroom.

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