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Posted by Mark Smith on October 31, 1998 at 04:33:12:

In Reply to: NOXIOUS FUMES FROM FIREPLACE--DO I HAVE TO PAY? posted by Sue Achey on October 30, 1998 at 14:53:30:

Your first course of conduct is to change your attitude. Except in very rare circumstances, the landlord is responsible for inspections and repairs like the one you mentioned -- not the tenant. Get yourself a carbon monoxide detector (about $25) to alert you about a less obvious problem than smoke from you fireplace. Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless -- and can be fatal.

You can call HPD Code Enforcement, but also call EPA and possibly even the Fire Department about this very serious fireplace problem. And notify your landlord about this problem by phone, by fax, by regular mail, with a Certificate of Mailing, and by certified mail, return receipt requested.

You can also bring an HP action in Housing Court, where an HPD inspection will be ordered. Or withhold all or part of your rent and counterclaim that the fireplace situation violates the warranty of habitabiity. This should also result in an HPD inspection.

: I've been living in my current Manhattan rental for 6 years with no complaints or problems until now. Last year, when I lit a fire in my fireplace the smoke would come out in my neighbor's apartment above me, filling her space with smoke, leading me to believe the opening of the chimney was blocked, keeping the smoke from leaving building. Being that under my lease we are responsible for our own repairs to our fireplaces, she called a repair guy in who fixed the problem with a few screws and everything was fine. This year I haven't even used the fireplace yet and when I got home from work one day this week, my apartment was filled with a light, smokey haze and noxious fumes that I could smell down the hall--even before I opened the door. These fumes are harsh and sickening (like those from a car tail pipe) and after a few minutes my eyes started watering and my skin started to itch. I opened my windows and left for a couple of hours (not something I want to be doing every night this winter) and the smell was gone when I came home. I want to have a professional come in and check the problem out (for my safety and the safety of the entire building), but I don't want to pay a fortune and then have the landlord say that this kind of "emergency repair" is MY responsibility. I don't want to move. I love the apartment. But I'm paying $1470 a month to have a working fireplace. And right now I'm afraid to even use it. Can someone give me a course of action to get started? Thanks in advance!

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