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What can I do if my landlord won't fix my apartment?

When a landlord refuses to make needed repairs to your apartment, you have a number of options available, including filing suit against the landlord to compel them to make the repairs.

Before filing a case in the Housing Court, it is a good idea to document your attempts to get the landlord to make the repairs. If the landlord or superintendent does not respond to an initial request, make the request in writing. Send a letter via certified mail to the owner of the property or the management company. Detail the problem that needs to be fixed and request the work be done by a specific date. If you don't have the address for the owner or management company, you can get it from the website of the New York Department of Housing Preservation & Development. Property owners are required to file this information every year with HPD.

If there is no response to the letter, you can try to get in touch with the landlord by phone or in person. Again, keep a record of your communications with the landlord; it may be helpful in court.

If all attempts to get the landlord to perform the repairs voluntarily are unsuccessful, you can file a lawsuit called an HP action in Housing Court. In an HP action you will be seeking a court order mandating the repairs be done. HP actions can be brought by individual tenants or by groups of tenants.

You are not required to have an attorney to file an HP action. Having an attorney, however, can increase your chances of success, especially if the attorney is experienced with New York law regarding lease disputes and the requirements of New York's Multiple Dwelling Law and Housing Maintenance Code.

Source: New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed Aug. 24, 2014

Source: New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed Aug. 24, 2014

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