Posted by TenantNet on January 29, 1997 at 18:13:40:
In Reply to: Do I have to pay for new windows? posted by lc on January 29, 1997 at 17:24:36:
: My windows are rotten due to a leak which took my landlord two months
: to address and fix. They say I have to pay a rent increase to get new
: windows. I canít access my fire escape since the windows are stuck shut
: and the damage was caused because they ignored the repairs for so long.
: These windows were in fine working condition when I signed the lease a
: few months prior to the leak. They are not being replaced in the whole
: building, it is not a major capital improvement. Do I really need to bear
: the burden of a rent increase? Can I withhold my rent until the repairs
: are made? I live in a rent stabilized building in Manhattan.
This is a favorite scam of landlords. You have the right to "working windows"
and you do not have to accept a rent increase (unless the replacement was
done during a vacancy or you agree to the increase). If they say the repair
cannot be done without replacement, then that's the owner's option, but
not binding on you. In some cases you can file with DHCR but the agency
in many cases rules against tenants unless it's the most egregious case.
If it's a "condition" (meaning broken or in disrepair) as opposed to a
service (which might be screens or storm windows provided with the
main windows), then you might be able to either start a HP action in housing
court or withhold your rent and use it as a defense when you are sued.
The bottom line is a) document that the condition exists, i.e., that something
is broken or does not work the way it should, b) request from the owner
that he "repair" the condition. Do not ask for new windows. Make a paper trail
and be sure to provide access. They will probably play games with you and
you decide where to draw the line.
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