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


Q: I reside in a rent-stabilized condominium in a medium-sizing, prewar making in Brooklyn. A pair of months ago, the ceiling in my shower started out leaking. Then, a chunk of the ceiling higher than the leak collapsed. The super protected the gap with cardboard but never actually mounted the leak or ceiling. I have referred to as quite a few times, and he generally says “tomorrow” but never fixes it. I have also referred to as administration 2 times and sent photographs. The wall appears to be to be becoming moldy. The cardboard is beginning to slide aside. What need to I do?

A: There is pretty a lot you can do. Start by contacting 311 to ask for an inspection from the Department of Housing Preservation and Progress. An inspector would most probably problem a violation, which may perhaps not address your dilemma straight away but would produce a paper trail of evidence.

“In typical, acquiring violations put does not do a great deal,” mentioned Samuel J. Himmelstein, a Manhattan attorney who represents tenants. “Landlords will almost never react.”

At the identical time, file what is recognised as an HP continuing in housing courtroom. It’s fundamentally a lawsuit filed from the landlord, whereby you talk to the courtroom to order the repairs. “This is the fastest way to get it accomplished,” Mr. Himmelstein stated. These conditions are likely to transfer speedily, and the landlord ordinarily settles and agrees to the repairs.

This course of action should absolutely get your ceiling set. Resolving the mold might be additional challenging. Mould remediation is not low-cost and can in some cases be substantial. You would have to have to confirm that you have mould, and your photos by yourself will not be adequate. You would also have to use your own specialist to identify the extent of the issue and make suggestions for remediation, Mr. Himmelstein said. Mold can pose significant wellness hazards, so, if you are concerned about it, you could want to get this extra move.

You should really also be entitled to a lease abatement for this time period of time. Start off by asking the landlord for 1. If your ask for is rebuffed — as it probably will be — you can withhold lease solely. If the landlord took you to housing court for nonpayment, your protection would be that the ailments violated your guarantee of habitability, a condition rule. You would finally have to pay back again some of the rent for that period of time, but not all of it.

However, once your ceiling is repaired, you might make your mind up that the rent abatement is not truly worth the headache of another day in court docket.

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