When tenants rent an apartment, they have the reasonable expectation that the landlord will not let the property fall into disrepair. Unfortunately, though, sometimes a landlord will run into financial trouble or simply won't fulfill obligations such as providing heat and exterminating pests. In these cases, it may be necessary for the tenants to band together to take legal action.
That has been the case for the residents of a building in the Bronx. The Kingsbridge building has 16 apartments, at least three of which have reportedly not had gas for two years. The tenants say there is also a serious rat problem, along with exposed wiring and unreliable hot water and heat. Residents have also complained that the broken front door of the building has been unlocked for half a year.
The property is in the midst of foreclosure, so receivership of the building was given to a third party this past summer. Still, residents say that no improvements have been made, and the building is sorely lacking in basic services.
Instead of cooking in their stoves, tenants have used electrical hotplates or simply not cooked in their apartments.
In an attempt to instigate some changes, residents stopped paying rent last year and later sued the receiver of the property. The case went to the state Supreme Court, which has yet to take action.
The receiver also sued the tenants for not paying rent, but the suit apparently remains to be decided.
Repair and maintenance disputes like this one occur throughout New York City, and no matter what side of the dispute you're on, it is important to be aware of your negotiation options. For more on resolving landlord-tenant disputes, please visit our residential real estate pages.
Source: New York Daily News, "Bronx tenants face Thanksgiving with no stove in troubled building," Jennifer H. Cunningham, Nov. 26, 2013