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Withholding Rent Due to Gas Leak, Utility Company's Order

Posted by A Friend in NYC on January 29, 2002 at 13:29:07:

Posted for a friend:

She lives in a rent-stabilized, 10-unit brownstone currently undergoing renovation in Manhattan. When the gas utility company attempted to make connections from the street to the basement they said that the landlord's newly-installed pipes were inadequate. In addition, they said that there was a carbon monoxide condition, as well.

The utility company turned off all gas service to the building affecting heat, hot water and stoves. All of the tenants (from the 6 occupied apartments) had to find shelter elsewhere for the duration. This problem was not resolved for 8 full days.

The questions: Can the tenants legally withhold 8 days' rent for the time period when they could not use their apartments? Can they be compensated for expenses, such as hotel bills, etc.? What are the consequences of taking such actions?

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