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Air condition in shaftway

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Air condition in shaftway

Postby Maria1957 » Wed Jun 15, 2022 11:25 pm

Mom 95 years old is Rent Control in a condo building (2 buildings divided by an air shaft. Her 5th floor LR shaft window is opposite her 5th floor neighbor. He is a condo owner who decided to move his stove closer to the window. His cooking smells enters her living room window when they both have their windows opened. Now he has placed a window air conditioner in his shaft window. The distance of his AC is 12 inches from her window. Mom has breathing issues and this is the only LR window she keeps opened for air circulation. She would like him to move his AC to another window so that the units' heat doesn't come into her LR
He is against the idea according to building management. Being that It's only 12 inches distance is there a law about placing ACs in shaftway? She has already made a complaint to the Health and Hygiene Dept about the AC and cooking smells but it will take 8 weeks to complete complaint. Can someone tell me if this is illegal and that inspector will be making a judgement on her neighbor? Thanks.
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Re: Air condition in shaftway

Postby TenantNet » Thu Jun 16, 2022 7:41 am

I'm not sure where to start on this one. In many old tenements, the air shafts were a way to provide light and air to otherwise dark apartments. They are often called "dumbbell tenements" as looking down from the top created an impression of a dumbbell.

I don't think RC v. condo makes much of a difference. I'm assuming she did not buy when the building converted, so she maintains her RC rights. It can get complicated though, as you really don't have one landlord to lodge complaints. I would start by putting complaints onto paper if you haven't done that already. List the problems: noise, cooking smells, excess heat from the AC, anything else, and how it impacts her breathing. Depending on the medical issue, you might consider seeking a "reasonable accommodation" from the landlord (in some cases ordered by Human Rights) that is normally things like wheelchair ramps, etc., but can be other things as well. Usually it's for the disabled, but it might also depend on the particulars of the medical condition.

Is there a way to compromise? Does he have a different window he can use?

Does him AC somehow impede the air flow into your mother's unit (after all, they are there to allow light and air).

I would do some research on this. I found this:
https://www.6sqft.com/a-short-history-o ... ir-shafts/

The case cited in the article are here and here.

At a minimum look at the complaints and any decisions. (also be aware that Adam Leitman Bailey, cited as attorney for one of the parties, is a notorious landlord lawyer.)

I can understand that an 8-week period to Health might seem like an eternity, but in NYC things are often measured in years. I would also consider a complaint to HPD. I would be careful about Buildings and about 311. They are horrible.
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Re: Air condition in shaftway

Postby TenantNet » Thu Jun 16, 2022 11:41 am

Another followup. I had asked an architect about this, who also says it's difficult to answer, or very difficult to resolve.

He says Health is probably not your best bet and suggests Buildings (DOB) or Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP). I would not trust DOB.

For further research, one thing that's needed is the construction date of the building (actually both buildings). You can check by going to zola.planning.nyc.gov and search by address or block/lot number. With that, on the right side, it will indicate the year built. That would determine if it's "Old Law Tenements" (1879-1901) or New Law Tenements (after 1901).

If Zola doesn't work, send us the address using Private Mail (do not post it in the public part of the Forum). See the "PM" button on the left side of this post.
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