Posted by Fred Lappert on February 26, 2002 at 10:55:17:
In Reply to: Lawsuit the only alternative now? posted by ML on February 26, 2002 at 10:31:35:
I'll answer a few of the questions. Chances are the legal grounds upon which you brought the DHCR case might be estopped because of the DHCR decision. But you were claiming deprivation of a required service. If the toilet is broken, or otherwise not working as intended, you can certainly get a violation on it from HPD -- and possibly bring a HP action -- in that its condition violates the warranty of habitability. But tread carefully; there are pitfalls in trying to sidestep a previous decision. Yes, you need the LL's permission to replace a toilet. You could get evicted if you do that. On the other hand, bringing in a plumber to "fix" the existing toilet might be permissible -- if nothing else, you could get the plumber to sign an affidavit. As for the MCI, that's a separate issue. If he didn't do the work or make the replacements, you will need to hit DHCR over the head to recognize the facts. Toilets should not be MCI's unless it was a building-wide replacement and in conjunction with other improvements. Also see if he is double-dipping. A few years bac, many owners were paid by the city to replace toilets. Those should not qualify for MCI's. Yes, the winner of a court suit can get legal fees if it's permitted in the original lease (even if it says the LL can only get fees, it really works both ways; if you win, you can get legal fees -- if a judge allows it).
: Having jumped through the hoops of the useless and corrupt DHCR over a service-reduction complaint and lost, only to have my very legitimate problem continue unremedied, I now am going to contact an attorney to sue the landlord. Background: The toilet in my apartment is defective. The owner rounded up his paid contractors and performed the most cursory of tests, convinced the DHCR that there is no problem, and refused to replace the defective commode. I have told the landlord I am not interested in a rent reduction, I simply want the thing replaced. I will even pay for the replacement and have it done myself, it's that bad. The landlord considers the case closed, but I don't. The landlord also, in a filing with the DHCR for an MCI rent increase, said that a new toilet was installed in my apartment during a building-wide renovation, and is charging me extra rent for it and other "improvements" that he did not do in my apartment. My questions are these: Do I have to get the landlord's permission to replace the toilet myself? Does he have to give his permission? In which court do I sue the landlord? Can I get damages and/or legal fees? I had been advised by people at this site to do this earlier ... but what are the chances of my getting what I want in a case like this? If I lose (I am convinced everything in Manhattan is rigged in the favor of landlords), can the landlord get legal fees out of me? I want this matter to be closed, but since the landlord refuses to deal with this now (I am the head of the tenant association in the building, and I have been singled out for many forms of retribution for my activities), I would like to put the landlord's feet to the coals. Please advise.
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