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gas leak, mice, no heat, withholding rent...?

Posted by laura on October 30, 2001 at 11:14:38:

I live in a 1BR apt in a 4-unit building in brooklyn (not rent stabilized). Our lease was up in October. We are planning on leaving by Dec. 1 or Dec 15. In the meantime, our heat was not turned on until October 26th. THEN we discovered a gas leak and our gas was turned off for 7 days (meaning we couldn't even boil water or cook for a whole week) and our LL's solution was to remove the pilot lights on our stoves/ovens, so that now we have to use a match every time we want to light a burner or the oven. IS THIS LEGAL??? He's just too damn cheap to fix the leak, which was obviously in the pipes that fed the pilot light. We also discovered that we have a mice problem in the kitchen...lots of droppings in the stove and under the sink.

1. I was told by someone that in Brooklyn you are not obligated to pay rent if your gas is turned off... Is this true? Can we legally withhold rent, and if we do, can he then turn around and refuse to return our security deposit when we leave next month?
2. Is the LL obligated to hire an exterminator to remove the vermin? Can we withhold rent for this reason also?
3. Shouldn't he HAVE to really fix the gas leak and not just remove the pilot lights?
4. Can we make him pay for our food expenses for the week in which we had no gas? It amounts to about $200...
5. If we withhold this month's rent, are we still entitled to all of our security deposit back?

HELP!!! I have no idea what our rights are.

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