Posted by Bill Rowen on September 18, 1997 at 23:04:52:
In Reply to: rent abatements for reduction of services posted by Michelle Smith on September 10, 1997 at 16:12:16:
: I live in a 130 unit building in which Con Edison turned off the gas to the building
: due to a suspected gas leak on 9/6. The building is working to cap the gas lines in
: each apartment, then perform some tests, then fix the leak, then get the building
: inspected, then get the gas turned back on. No estimate has been given for completion of
: this process. In the meantime, we do not have a functioning stove.
: I asked the landlord whether there will be some compensation for this reduction in service
: and he said "I don't think so -- it's not our fault."
: Are we entitled to an abatement? Any advice on how much is reasonable?
It is beside the point whether it is his fault or not. The landlord is responsible for not delivering services, whether intentional or not.
The Rent Stabilization Law, the Warranty of Habitability Law, and other legal concepts may entitle you to recover some of your losses, damages, or the unjust benefits the landlord got because of the situation.
Also, it is not necessarily true that the landlord is not at fault just because he says so. Perhaps he neglected to perform some repairs or even inspections or answer notices that would have prevented or mitigated the situation that ultimately developed and caused your losses. Anyway, the day when a landlord admits that he owes a tenant money is yet to dawn.
Rowen's Law: Money always flows from tenants to landlords, never in the opposite direction.
Bill Rowen, Met Council on Housing
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