December 10, 2023

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

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Q: I are living in a hire-stabilized apartment in a medium-dimension, prewar creating in Brooklyn. A few of months in the past, the ceiling in my shower started off leaking. Then, a chunk of the ceiling over the leak collapsed. The tremendous covered the hole with cardboard but under no circumstances in fact fastened the leak or ceiling. I have named quite a few situations, and he often claims “tomorrow” but hardly ever fixes it. I have also known as management two times and sent shots. The wall appears to be getting to be moldy. The cardboard is beginning to fall aside. What really should I do?

A: There is really a whole lot you can do. Start out by calling 311 to request an inspection from the Section of Housing Preservation and Improvement. An inspector would most probably issue a violation, which may possibly not fix your difficulty quickly but would make a paper trail of proof.

“In typical, having violations placed does not do much,” reported Samuel J. Himmelstein, a Manhattan attorney who represents tenants. “Landlords will hardly ever react.”

At the very same time, file what is regarded as an HP continuing in housing court. It is essentially a lawsuit filed versus the landlord, whereby you request the court docket to buy the repairs. “This is the quickest way to get it done,” Mr. Himmelstein stated. These scenarios tend to go speedily, and the landlord normally settles and agrees to the repairs.


This procedure should absolutely get your ceiling mounted. Resolving the mildew could be far more sophisticated. Mildew remediation is not low-priced and can occasionally be substantial. You would have to have to verify that you have mold, and your photographs by itself will not be enough. You would also have to employ your very own specialist to ascertain the extent of the difficulty and make tips for remediation, Mr. Himmelstein explained. Mold can pose severe health risks, so, if you are worried about it, you might want to choose this excess move.

You should really also be entitled to a hire abatement for this time period of time. Start off by asking the landlord for one particular. If your request is rebuffed — as it almost certainly will be — you can withhold rent fully. If the landlord took you to housing court docket for nonpayment, your protection would be that the problems violated your warranty of habitability, a condition rule. You would finally have to pay out back again some of the rent for that time period of time, but not all of it.

Having said that, as soon as your ceiling is fixed, you may well make your mind up that the lease abatement is not worth the headache of a further working day in court docket.

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