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Re: NYC Apartment Repainting Laws

Posted by TenantNet on June 27, 1996 at 00:39:26:

In Reply to: NYC Apartment Repainting Laws posted by Paul P. Soucek on June 26, 1996 at 19:08:38:

: I have lived in a "rent-stabilized" on the Upper West Side apartment
for 5+ years. According to law, the apartment is to be repainted every
three years. I waived that right at Year Three in negotiation for getting
some other work done, and it never got done...

Well you can't waive any rights under the Rent Stab Code. The NYC Housing
Maintenance Code (online) requires painting every three years (or sooner
if it needs it) and that is a housing standards requirement, not a right
you can waive. In some limited situations, in court if you are represented
by an attorney and if "so ordered" by a judge, some such accommodations can
be made, but not something as basic as this.

: Now -- approaching Year Six -- I renegotiated with the landlord to
have the "other work" and the six-year repainting done... A problem:
the building was sold and the new owner is disregarding any of the
arrangements I'd made with the previous owner. I know, I know: always
get it in writing. But -- like so many landlord/tenant/super/whomever
agreements -- these things aren't always in writing...

: I won't elaborate on the major run-around I'm getting from the new
ownership of the building, but suffice it to say they're allotting
very little money to reimburse me for the cost of the paint-job.
: Are there any rules that ascertain what a landlord must pay (per room?
per foot?) to have an apartment repainted? Through what avenue can a
tenant object if they feel they're being shortchanged?

You can:
File a service reduction with DHCR (not recommended)
File a HP case in housing court (see info online)
Withhold rent and be taken on a non-payment case where
your defense will be lack of repairs. First notify the owner in
writing that the place needs painting, dates of access and
remind him it's his obligation -- no matter what any previous
agreement might say -- it's still his obligation.
If you get to court demand an inspection.
Take photos. Don't let him jerk you around. Some owners will
allow tenants to paint themselves -- you probably will get a
better job than the schlock jobs by owners, but then there's no
requirement that the tenant be reimbursed. That they may give you
a pittance is gravy (if that). In some limited situations, you
can do a "repair and deduct" but then the owner might take you to
court on a non-payment and you would have to have a strong case
that he refused to do the work and the condition was hazardous.
There is no automatic right to "repair and deduct" but it occasionally
works. Follow Ups:

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