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Scaffolding on building - security risk!

Posted by Virginia Kallianes on August 07, 1997 at 15:29:47:

This is sort of an off-beat question, I know it doesn't seem as urgent as some other tenant's problems, but I wonder if anyone out there has had a similiar situation and any experience in handling it. The management of my residential building erected scaffolding ("shed") on the outside of the building at the rear of the building. THe scaffolding is at the level of my windows--my apartment is on the first floor, one flight up from street level, but with the scaffolding someone can easily climb up from the street and gain access to my windows; it's like being on the first floor. The rear of the building faces a dead end street that is often dark and isolated--last building on the block. The point is that the scaffolding has been up for OVER 5 1/2 YEARS and the management tells me they have no plans to remove it in the near future and no plans to do repairs on the facade. I have been very concerned about the security risk posed by the possibility of someone climbing on to the scaffolding and breaking into my apartment. So, several years ago I purchased an alarm system, at great expense to myself. I also have spent money on its maintenance. Needless to say, management refuses to reimburse me for this security system. I am now considering window bars because I am so afraid of a break in, but I can't really afford it. I know this seems extreme, but after 5 1/2 years of this I am suffering from sleep deprivation! There doesn't seem to be any way, legally, I can find to get them to remove the scaffolding, however I am considering trying to get a reduction of rent for decrease in services (safety & security). This has been suggested to me by a tenant lawyer; alternately, it has been suggested that I file a complaint or harassment, or withhold rent and take my chances in court re:eviction. Of course, I would really like the scaffolding to come down! I am really getting concerned about my security and sanity, but I can't afford to move--have been in my home for 20 years!--and can't afford attorney's fees.
Any advice/suggestions would be appreciated.

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