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Do unavailable utilities = refund?

Posted by Brian on August 14, 2001 at 14:03:34:

I am new to NY and have just moved in to a newly renovated (under J-51), rent stabilized walk-up in Harlem. My year-long lease began Aug. 1, but there is still a lot of work being done on the building. There is also much that needs to be done to my apt: I have no gas, the phone jacks are not yet installed, there are no smoke detectors, the door buzzers do not work, it needs painted, etc. The broker keeps telling me these things will be done "Shortly" that the landlord "has a reasonable time frame to provide them" and that I "Shouldn't worry." I am getting a little worried and have these questions:

First, most places in the US have some kind of certificate of occupancy that needs to be granted by a local government agency or inspector. Does NYC have such a thing for complete renovations? Can I find out if such a permit was issued?

Second, what are my rights if the landlord took my rent money and allowed me to move in without such a certificate?

Third, am I entitled to a partial refund for August rent because of the lack of utilities, is there a guideline for how much and are there any suggestions out there on how to approach this?

Thanks for any help.

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