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Re: ERIKA: if you want help, put in an e-mail address

Posted by just me on August 16, 1997 at 19:15:30:

In Reply to: Landlord - No maintenance plan posted by Erika on July 30, 1997 at 15:23:03:

: I live in a building that is rent controlled/stabilized.

I think if there are tenants in the building who are stabilized, the
apartment you are in is stabilized unless you pay more than $2,000 a
month and earn more than $250,000 a year. I'm assuming you don't fall
into this category?

: If there is a problem in the apartment, we can call this schmo that
does work for him and have it "fixed." A good example of this is that
our bathtub leaks because it needs new cauking. The shmoe comes in,
doesn't listen to a word I said, takes the pole apart and puts it back
together and says it is fixed. This irritated me to say the least,

because essentially it means I still can't take a soak in the tub.
To make matters worse, when I attempted to take a shower, the pole
came flying off at the joints.

This event is the perfect opportunity to get repairs made. YOu should not
have replaced the pole with goop or anything, you should have left it on
the floor and immediately called the landlord, not the schmoe, and said
in rather frantic tones "Do you know what would have happend if that thing
hit me in the head?"

: The landlord has essentially told us that anything
we do to create a better environment in the apartment
is best left to things we can "take with us when we leave."

What does "essentially" mean? Did he say the above quote or not?

That's just fine and dandy if the essentials are in repair.
But what if they are not and you don't want to live in a slum?
: We have spent quite a good amount of money already making it

I believe it depends on what you consider habitable and what the law
considers habitable. A leaky roof, leaky tub, broken stove, those types
of things are supposed to be all working, and adequate. Not top of the
line, just functioning and in good working order.

We had to get a toliet kit to and replace that because
we are afraid to let the schmoe do any more work in the apartment.
If we want a fire alarm, we have to buy it ourselves.

I recently paid $12.00 for a toilet kit and smoke alarms are under $25.
Frankly, I'd lay out the money for these things because they make MY life
easier in many ways in that it's fixed right away without having to let
a shmoe into the apartment, and plus for as long as I'm there, the toilet
will function well. Yeah, I know, it's up to the landlord to provide a
working toilet, but in fairness, these things get moldy, dirty and the
rubber disintegrates and they need to be replaced. I wouldn't quibble
about it, but I suppose you have a right to quibble if you want to. Even
in unregulated apartments, there are certain habitability standards that
a landlord must adhere to.

If we want
floors that don't have tiles coming up, we have to buy them ourselves.
We bought some tiles for our own sanity. We tried to judge cost vs.
quality to get something reasonable that wouldn't fall apart or crack
withing the next few years of residence. Eventually we plan to have the
floors restripped.

This is ridiculous. Buy a rug. At least you can take that with you when
you go. Stripped? That's insane. As long as the floor doesnt' collapse
on the person underneath you, it's habitable and he is under no obligation
to fix it. If he does decide to strip the floor and redo it for you, he
can raise your rent if he applies to.

Believe me when I tell you this is not something we
want to spend money on, but there is only so much you can put up with.

The problem is TOO MANY people put up with things and say, Isn't it
terrible.... and do nothing to improve the situation whether because of
fear. If you have a lease for that apartment and he's been cashing your
rent checks every month, he has obligations to keep the apartment
habitable. If he doesn't, file a complaint with the DHCR.

The floors had been painted in various layers, each a different color.
Essentially, some parts of the wood floor are white, some light blue,
some tan, and some black. Clearly this is a truly awful thing to have
to look at day in or day out.

Again, nothing a rug wont cover. If it's in the kitchen, I don't know what
to say other than paint it all one color or buy the cheapest tiles you can
since you'll leave them there.

: So the cost of these things... if the landlord is not willing to absorb
the costs of these things, let alone our time for the labor, is this an
acceptable leverage to avoid a rent increase?

You have no right to strip your floors and expect the landlord to 'absorb'
the costs. Again, if the floor works, he's under no obligation to do
anything to it. It might be unattractive to look at, but if it's not
dangerous or rotting, that's what you live with.

We have enough expenses
as a newly formed couple and this is truly a strain. But at the same time
one needs to feel happy in their apartment.

It should be remembered that you signed a lease after viewing the
apartment. What you saw is what you got. It sucks, but that's the way
it is. If the landlord can get away with something, he will.

If we were to leave, the
landlord would be able to rent at a much higher price because the apartment
would be in much better shape.

Why? did he say he would renovate if you left?

My boyfriend assures me that this landlord
is a nice guy, and someone he has known in the neighborhood all his life.
He says he isn't going to screw us over. So do you think these expenses
are justifiable to deduct from any rent increase for the future?

Nice guy, maybe, good landlord, no, but then again, not many landlords are
good. The problem is you have to make a list of all the things that are
"wrong" with the apartment. Then call an office of DHCR or some other
tenants organization from the phone book. They're great people. TenantNet
people are great too. YOu might be mad at the response you got but it's
an honest answer. In any case, call a tenants group and read them the
list of things wrong with your apartment and they will be able to tell
you if any of them are serious enough that you can demand action be taken.

Perhaps he wanted to keep the previous tenant's name on the lease becasue
he knows he needed to renovate before allowing a new tenant to move in.
: Any comments would be appreciated.

: PS: The lease goes for renewal next year, and my boyfriend is talking
about not renewing it, and living month to month.

Take it from a previous month to month tenant, YOU HAVE NO RIGHTS if you
are month to month and have no lease. A very bad idea in my opinion as
a standard lease says things that both the landlord and tenant have to abide
by. REad your lease. Does is say anything about the landlord being
obligated to keep the apartment in good repair etc? If it does, call him
on it. A leaky tub breaks his part of the deal.

Just my opinions. I'm no lawyer or anything, just another tenant trying to pay the rent.

: PPS: If my name is on a cancelled check for the

rent, does that
legitimize the fact that I live there too?

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