Posted by Dawn on October 31, 2000 at 11:53:36:
In Reply to: Heat Problem posted by Ann on October 31, 2000 at 11:07:57:
Are you rent stabilized? Find out the status of your apartment. You may have to go to Housing and Preservation. I'd put everything in writing, check what needs to be done, see what really needs to be taken care of, the major stuff, see if your state guidelines can tell you what the landlord in your town is responsible for. If talking to him on the phone has led to some heated exchanges, then sending a calm, polite, detailed note, no more than one page, on what needs to be addressed and you would like a written response from him within 10 days to fix/clear up these issues. Send it certified or federal express, and wait. If you do not hear from him in ten days, then contact Housing Preservation. If he does contact you by phone, see if something can be arranged. However, if he calls and then dodges you, you can send another letter to him (a copy of the original will do with a note attached saying "please contact me about this letter." If he doesn't respond, then contact Housing and Preservation, who will take down your info and send an inspector. Try to get an estimate of when the inspector will arrive but normally they don't tell because they want the element of surprise. Take pictures of everything in your apartment that is deemed major and keep that in your files as well.
I've called Housing and Development when I was at the end of my rope for three years dealing with a realtor and nasty landlord who ducked his duties yet wanted his rent on time every month regardless. Once the landlord knows you know your rights, he'll either calm down and be rational or sell the building, especially if he owns other buildings and it's found he's doing the same to other tenants. Which all of the above happened with mine. Don't worry about retaliation. There are laws against that too. Check your state regulations on that as well. Meanwhile -- Stay alert, keep notes, have your pictures, send any correspondence with some kind of guarantee you'll get a notice it was received (I prefer Federal Express, expensive but worth every penny) and keep it in a bank safety deposit box for if and when the time comes that the landlord decides to get nasty. Good luck.
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