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What does tenant do to exercise basic rights?

Posted by Pissed Off Tenant on January 25, 2002 at 15:51:08:

I am going into the seventh month of a one-year lease for a three-bedroom apt. in uptown Manhattan. My apt. is in a post-war tenement that houses app. 20 other apartments.

This is my problem: Ever since early November, our heating and hot water has been inconsistent. On an average of three mornings a month, my roommate and I wake up to take a shower and the water is ice cold. When we call the management office, they give us a barrage of ridiculous excuses until the super hurries over and gets the heater to wokring, which usually happens anywhere between one and three hours of our call. We have left the landlord messages and sent him a letter voicing our frustration with this unacceptable infringement of our rights as tenant. He has responded to neither.

Question: What kind of action can we take. Can we report him to some dept, in the housing authority? Are we allowed to withhold rent and what are the rules of such an action? Please just give me the necessary info that tenants need to hold their landlords accountable for mismanagement. I plan to write another letter letting him know we are tired of this foolishness and would like to have some concrete plan of action to present to him.

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