Posted by Amanda Plyley on July 27, 2000 at 16:22:58:
In Reply to: Re: this is not a housing court issue posted by EGH on July 27, 2000 at 14:31:03:
I think you are 100% correct. I met with a lawyer today from the Brooklyn Bar Assn. and she essentially said the same thing. If repairs are not being made to the building one should file an action in Housing Court to force those repairs to be made. In order to settle property damage she recommended suing both the landlord and the tenant in Small Claims. Allow a judge to decide who's responsible and who'll pay damages.
So far we have asked nicely for replacement of our mattress and cleaning of our bedding. That has not worked. We are still withholding rent until the source of the leak is eliminated (the landlord and the super both termed the washer "illegal"--this is a 100 year old tenement building with 600 sq ft apartments and no w/d hookups, clearly allowing a washer is not wise). So far we have not been served an eviction notice.
I believe we should hear more from the landlord within a few days about further repair to the apartment.
: I do not agree that this is not a housing court issue.
: The landlord is responsible for leaks from one apartment
: into another, for dealing with those leaks, and for
: making repairs. Forcing a landlord to make repairs
: is a housing court issue. It really doesn't matter
: if the leak was caused by a washing machine or not --
: that's not the downstairs tenants' headache. It's
: the landlord's headache. Having that headache is the
: service the landlord provides in exchange for rent.
: If the landlord sues you in housing court for withholding
: rent to obtain repairs, he will doubtless say that the
: leak is not his responsibility because it is caused
: by another tenant. A tenant should ignore this line
: of argument, and take the attitude that a leak is the
: responsibility of an owner no matter what the cause.
: A tenant can obtain a rental abatement in housing court
: for the reduced value of a damaged apartment.
: However, housing court is not a good place to complain
: about damage to personal property. To recover damages
: for that, the best alternative (after asking the landlord
: nicely to reimburse you -- sometimes it works!) is to take
: him to small claims court. Your attitude in small
: claims court should be that a landlord is responsible
: for dealing with leaks that damage a tenant's property.
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