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Moving In: What are the responsibilities of the Landlord?

Posted by Sara Ward on August 03, 2000 at 03:02:50:

I am one of 3 people who will be living in a 3 BR duplex in Albany, New York. We have the standard 1-year lease and paid a security deposit equal to one month's rent. Officially, our tenancy started 8/1, however, the management company told us that they would be "nice" to us and allow us to pick up the keys on 7/27, so we could start to move stuff in before the first.

When we went to pick up the keys and drop off the August rent check, the landlord then informed us that 2 of the bedrooms were going to be recarpeted (which is great since they were gross), we couldn't move anything big (e.g. beds, desks, couches) until after the carpeting was completed. Since we hadn't been to the duplex since we first looked at it, we went over there that day and discovered that the entire place is completely disgusting. There is a kitchen and a kitchenette in the duplex. One of the ovens was entirely black inside, desperately needing to be cleaned; the refrigerators were defrosted but never cleaned out and the smell is atrocious. In virtually all of the corners, there are cobwebs with 3 or 4 spiders hanging out in them. The bathrooms are in horrible condition, particularly the one upstairs near where the carpeting was taking place (obviously the maintenance people were using it and never bothered to clean up). In addition, there is a pile of garbage (apparently some door got replaced and the old one is just outside the back door, as well as with some construction materials) both directly outside of the duplex and one farther back in the yard (this pile consisting of old tires and rusted out trash cans). Furthermore, there is a large carpet remnant in the living room that needs to be thrown out. In addition to all of this, a brand new roll of linoleum is in the middle of the living room (yet no areas with linoleum were replaced). There are paint cans here and there around the apartment, so I assume they painted, even though to be honest, I don't understand how they could have painted without coming into contact with the spiders...

Since we saw all of this 5 days before we "officially" had occupancy, we called up the landlord and asked him if all of this crap was going to be cleaned up. He said, "Of course." Due to various work schedules, we didn't get back over to the duplex until today and discovered that while the carpeting was finished, all of the garbage was still there and absolutely nothing had been cleaned.

I understand that New York State has a Warranty of Habitability. In my honest opinion, I do not believe that this duplex is safe or sanitary for us to move into. The thought of having to spend a couple of days getting the place cleaned to the point where I would be comfortable sleeping over there is driving me crazy.

After all this babbling, what's my point? Does the landlord have the responsibility to clean an apartment prior to it being made available for us to occupy? Am I being naive about all of this? Certainly I don't expect anyone to clean the duplex to my satisfaction, so I will clean it when I move in, but the oven alone should take about 1 hour to scrub of all of the baked on, burned food.

This all aside, not moving in is not an option. I am to be out of my present apartment on the 15th and we have the U-Haul rented to move the furniture over there on the 6th. Any advice?

Thanks so much!

-- Sara

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