My apartment has no heating. What can I do?

Q: For over a decade, I had insufficient heating in my apartment in an affordable housing complex in Hell’s Kitchen. Sometimes I have n...

Q: For over a decade, I had insufficient heating in my apartment in an affordable housing complex in Hell’s Kitchen. Sometimes I have no heat at all. My neighbors on the same line also have this problem. I took the landlord to the housing court in 2018 and the judge ordered them to provide heating. Instead, the owner gave me a heater so my electric bill skyrocketed and I had to pay it. I took them to court again in 2019, and another judge ordered them to fix the heating. But I still don’t have one. What can I do?

A: In New York, owners are required to provide heating from October 1 to May 31. From 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., if outdoor temperatures drop below 55 degrees, indoor temperatures should be at least 68 degrees. At night, the indoor temperature should be at least 62 degrees, regardless of the temperature outside.

So far you’ve done all the right things. If a landlord doesn’t fix the unsafe conditions, a tenant can sue in housing court in what’s called a HP in progress. HP cases are usually straightforward enough that a tenant can navigate without a lawyer. If there is a violation of the code, a judge orders a correction and the problem is resolved.

But if the owner doesn’t do the job, then the process becomes more complicated. “While a tenant can take a landlord to court for additional orders and fines, the most effective remedy is contempt of court,” said David E. Frazer, a Manhattan attorney who represents tenants. . “A motion for contempt, however, is very technical and can be difficult to pursue successfully. “

So what are you doing now? You can withhold the rent. If the landlord sues you for non-payment, a judge may grant you a reduction in rent and order the landlord to fix the problem. However, withholding rent is not without risk: your name could end up on a blacklist, and your credit score could suffer.

You have other tools at your disposal, especially your neighbors. If others on your line are affected by this, work as a group. “Tenants are always better off when they act collectively,” said Frazer.

Call a tenants meeting and decide on a strategy. You could call 311 en masse, as the Department of Housing Preservation and Development was involved in your previous affairs and should have inspected your apartment to see if the code violations had been corrected, according to Frazer. You could also launch a rent strike, participate to hire a lawyer for another HP proceeding, or both. Act as a whole and your complaints will be harder to ignore.

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Newsrust - US Top News: My apartment has no heating. What can I do?
My apartment has no heating. What can I do?
Newsrust - US Top News
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