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Old 12-16-2013, 03:33 PM
 
6 posts, read 32,531 times
Reputation: 11

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I live in the UES (Yorkville) near the east river in a one bedroom apartment. The building is a pre-war 5th floor walk up (that could stand a little TLC). The super keeps the building clean, and the space is pretty big for NYC standards. However, the problem is, the ceiling in the bedroom leaked about a two months ago. I told the super and the owner of the building. The owner of the building came out with a roofer and assessed the damage in my apartment and on the roof. He then stated that there is "extensive work" to be done and it will be patched for now and more work will be done in "a couple of weeks". My understanding is that the roof will not replaced but it will be repaired in phases. Fast forward a couple weeks we experienced some rain and no leak until two days ago. I am not going to lie, it was like the amazon rain forest in my bedroom. There were leaks in five different places. I called the super that night. He did not return my call. I also sent an email to the owner. The owner stated in his email that "he is sorry but nothing can be done inside my apartment." Then he wrote that the super will check if drains are clogged on the roof. He also said that "work" is scheduled in a couple of weeks.

My issue is, I am very concerned about mold growing in my apartment. And it also seems like he doesn't want to take responsibility for something that is a pretty big problem in my eyes. My question is, do I have the right to break my lease and still get my security back? I feel like when it rains it really is a untenable situation in the apartment. I had to put pots to collect water and I also had to sleep on the couch. I really want to make sure I get my security deposit back and not sure what my rights are after I decide to break the lease. Also, should I talk to a lawyer? Honestly, I am not really sure what my recourse is… Thanks for reading this. I know it is long. Any advice would be really helpful! I am off to read my lease agreement. Oh, additional information.. my lease is up in May and I am definitely not renewing it!! Also, the owner mentioned that I pay "under market value" for this apartment in passing before. I pay $1785/month. I don't think that is any small beans but he can rent this place for $2500/month without renovating it. Okay, thanks again for any advice.
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Old 12-16-2013, 03:43 PM
 
Location: West Harlem
6,885 posts, read 8,618,662 times
Reputation: 3028
Your landlord not only can but MUST repair your apartment and the roof.

Call 311. You should do this right away. HPD will compel him legally to repair the roof, they will supervise this, and they will then make sure that he completes repairs in your apartment.

Do not use email with your landlord. Write a letter, even a list of the problems, and/or a list-like summary of each and every conversation you have had with him. Send this certified mail, return receipt. Include a copy of the email, but I don't know that this stands legally.

Take careful pictures and document everything - leaks, floods, repairs, calls, conversations, letters - with dates and times.

If you are worried, after reading this, that you might get "on the bad side" of your landlord, you should pack up right away and return to your place of origin.
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Old 12-16-2013, 03:46 PM
 
Location: West Harlem
6,885 posts, read 8,618,662 times
Reputation: 3028
One more thing - you should contact DHCR, obtain a rental history, and make sure that you are paying your legal rent.
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Old 12-16-2013, 03:47 PM
 
23,360 posts, read 16,075,092 times
Reputation: 16866
Leases cannot be broken without the consent of the landlord and or by court order. If you are having issues with your apartment that are not being resolved to your satisfaction by the LL your only recourse is housing court.

May is not that far off so if you wish to find some place else simply ask your LL if they will let you move without holding you to the owing rent until the apartment is again rented clause. Such clauses are part of every standard RS and other leases which mean in theory an LL is entitled to rents from you for the entire term of your lease. Absent a court order or his agreement you can be held accountable for said funds. However in practice many LL's don't bother and simply rent out the apartment.

In a "hot" RS market and if the LL can renovate/gut the apartment and get more for it after you depart then they probably will say "see ya". However it is not wise to count on this and better to have something in writing.

If you are living in a RS apartment and or otherwise paying "below market rent", then the LL's attitude is common if not prevailing. Have known and know persons in RS apartments putting up with leaks in walls, ceilings, etc... and all that comes with it.

Landlords and or their attorney's are clever and will often do repairs or whatever enough to satisfy any potential or current court action. Remember in such matters the court does not have to order the LL to repair things to suit your schedule and or satisfaction. The over riding concern is health, not asthetics.
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Old 12-16-2013, 03:51 PM
 
Location: West Harlem
6,885 posts, read 8,618,662 times
Reputation: 3028
Quote:
Originally Posted by BugsyPal View Post

If you are living in a RS apartment and or otherwise paying "below market rent", then the LL's attitude is common if not prevailing. Have known and know persons in RS apartments putting up with leaks in walls, ceilings, etc... and all that comes with it.
There is no reason for anyone to put up with anything at all, unless the tenant(s) in question have some sort of "story."
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Old 12-16-2013, 04:00 PM
 
23,360 posts, read 16,075,092 times
Reputation: 16866
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harlem resident View Post
There is no reason for anyone to put up with anything at all, unless the tenant(s) in question have some sort of "story."
By the tenant's own admission landlord and super inspected the leaks and made some repairs. LL further indicated further major repairs (to the roof) were forthcoming and planned. Just what do you think a judge or the City is going to do? Am willing to bet neither would order a new roof to be installed in one day.

Again could see if the LL brushed off the tenant and took no action to remedy matters, but it seems from her/his post issues have/are being addressed, just not on a time table to suit his/her liking. That is NOT going to move a housing court judge or City agency. People have had to put up with much worse conditions for longer periods of time even with sanctioned and supervised action by housing court and or department of housing.
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Old 12-16-2013, 04:03 PM
 
Location: West Harlem
6,885 posts, read 8,618,662 times
Reputation: 3028
Quote:
Originally Posted by BugsyPal View Post
By the tenant's own admission landlord and super inspected the leaks and made some repairs. LL further indicated further major repairs (to the roof) were forthcoming and planned. Just what do you think a judge or the City is going to do? Am willing to bet neither would order a new roof to be installed in one day.
In fact, I am willing to bet that you are completely in error. When warranted, HPD actually takes such things quite seriously.

This is assuming that the OP is not exaggerating. Because the inspector would make that call.
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Old 12-16-2013, 04:12 PM
 
23,360 posts, read 16,075,092 times
Reputation: 16866
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harlem resident View Post
In fact, I am willing to bet that you are completely in error. When warranted, HPD actually takes such things quite seriously.

This is assuming that the OP is not exaggerating. Because the inspector would make that call.
Whatever, but again highly doubt it as the LL has not *REFUSED* to make repairs just seems not willing to do them on a schedule that suits tenant. Indeed initial repairs were made which shows the LL did/is taking steps to address the problem. Just what do *YOU* think is supposed to happen? A total roof repair or putting in a new one just like *that*.

HPD - Residential Tenants - Frequently Asked Questions - For Tenants
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Old 12-16-2013, 04:16 PM
 
Location: West Harlem
6,885 posts, read 8,618,662 times
Reputation: 3028
The OP should be aware of the real estate agenda of many posters here. The defensiveness comes from that.

And the OP may take or leave my advice, which comes from a good deal of experience.

I will add, so misinformation does not stand, that leaks into a unit are considered an emergency, usually demonstrating immediate need of roof repair.
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Old 12-16-2013, 04:22 PM
 
23,360 posts, read 16,075,092 times
Reputation: 16866
Excuse you? What "misinformation?

OP inquired about the legality of breaking her/his lease with the return of security deposit. My response was entirely correct, he/she cannot do so without expressed written consent of the LL or court order.

You went on about mandatory repairs and what have you even though OP clearly stated she/he has no intention of remaining in unit once lease is up in May.
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