Posted by Ian Penny on January 04, 2000 at 17:42:56:
I live in Brooklyn, NY in a rent-stabilized brownstone with 11 units. For the last several years the landlord has refused to correct a problem with the heating system. Every winter the heat goes on early each morning and the pipes clang for an hour at a deafening level. This is not merely a problem of tilting the radiator or draining the pipes. It appears to be a structural problem involving corroded steam pipes that run from floor to ceiling in every unit. As a result it is impossible to sleep past 5:30 a.m., when the banging usually starts. I wanted to know what actions I could take. Does the problem amount to a violation of the covenant of habitability. Should I pursue a case in housing court to have the problem corrected. Can I have a plumber take a look at the problem and then deduct the cost of the etsimate or repairs from my rent?
The other problem I am experiencing is that there is no live-in super in the building. Instead, tenants are given the number of the person who handles the garbage and who occasionally performs light maintenance. However, he ignores calls from tenants and will only respond to tenant complaints when the landlord directs him to. For instance, he did come by when my kitchen roof collapsed and I reported it directly to the landlord. However, he will not answer his beeper and he will not deal with problems such as leaky faucets, even when you ask him in person. There used to be a live-in super in the building but he was fired and the landlord rented out his apartment. Is it legal for the landlord not to have a super on the premises at an 11-unit building. Is it sufficient to have someone who will only respond to emergencies and will not answer tenant complaints directly? If this is not legal, can any action be taken by the tenants?
Thanks for any help you can provide me.
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