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DHCR Response to Hot Water Complaint

Posted by DLM on May 31, 2001 at 00:19:09:

My landlord does not provide adequate maintenance for my building, and his neglect manifests itself most inconveniently in the water heater's frequent breakdowns. The problem became especially frequent during the past year when hot water was unavailable on ten separate occasions. Even worse, each interruption in hot water service lasted three days on average because the landlord was slow to respond to requests for emergency repairs. I estimate the landlord denied me hot water service for nearly 30 days during a 12 month period.

I filed the DHCR's Form HHW-1 (Failure to Provide Heat And/Or Hot Water - Tenant Application For Rent Reduction) with copies of reports from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development finding a lack of hot water on ten different dates.

The DHCR began its review of my complaint by inquiring whether hot water service has yet been restored. When I responded that it had, the DHCR terminated its proceedings on the grounds that the conditions have been corrected.

I don't know whether conditions have been corrected, and neither does the DHCR. If history is any guide, the water heater is due to a failure tomorrow. The pattern of breakdowns followed by inadequate repairs suggests that the DHCR should investigate the QUALITY of the landlord's maintenance, not whether hot water service happens to be available on any single day.

I want the DHCR to use its enforcement powers to encourage my landlord to fulfill its maintenance obligations. I am disappointed that the DHCR ended its administrative proceeding before my landlord had to answer for a well-documented history of maintenance neglect and witholding of essential services. I intend to file an appeal on Form RAR-2, but I would welcome any advice about how I can obtain some justice in this matter.

Thank you.

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