Tenant Tips: Warranty of Habitability

You have the right to live in a safe and clean home.

Under the Warranty of Habitability NYC tenants  have the right to live in a safe and clean apartment. If your apartment has any of the below conditions document them and notify your landlord in writing. Make sure to keep copies of all communication to and from your landlord as well as pictures of the problems.

  • Asbestos which could become air-borne in the tenants’ apartment.
  • Broken floor tiles which create a hazardous condition.
  • Substantial accumulations of garbage that lead to infestations of insects or vermin.
  • Failure to provide heat and hot water for extended periods.
  • Severe infestation of insects and vermin.
  • Lead-based paint, especially where small children reside.
  • Deprivations of air, light, and/or ventilation.
  • Excessive noise as from construction, mechanical equipment, or even neighboring tenants when the landlord fails to take effective steps to abate the nuisance.
  • Offensive fumes and odors.
  • Defective plumbing.
  • Sewage leaks and spills.
  • Disruptions in water service.
  • Lack of window guards when required by local ordinances to protect children.

“”The obligation to pay rent is dependent upon the landlord’s satisfactory maintenance of the premises in habitable condition” (Park West Management Corp. v. Mitchell, 47 N.Y.2d 316).”

If you are going to claim a breach of warranty of habitability you will need to provide proof of the notices you have sent to your landlord. 

Keep copies of all communication to your landlord or managing agent requesting repairs. It is also helpful to take pictures of the conditions that are sub par. A successful breach of warranty of habitability claim could result in a rent reduction for the time period when the premises was not repaired. Use the Landlord Tenant Fact Sheet offered by NY housing court to help you determine if you have a breach of  warranty of habitability.

If you have questions about this process or feel that your landlord has violated your rights, please give me a call.

Elizabeth Jennings, Esq.

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