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Balcony Repairs: What rights does a tenant have?

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Balcony Repairs: What rights does a tenant have?

Postby aweitz » Wed Apr 24, 2002 1:46 pm

We looked at our apartment in October of 2001. At the time, the building was drilling/re-surfacing the balconies of the apartments next to the apartment we were viewing. As there was actual drilling going on next door while we were viewing the apartment I specifically asked if we would have to deal with that on our balcony. The agent for the landlord said NO that everything would be complete in 2 weeks. Our lease began in December of 2001 and the drilling next door continued.

Last week we received a notice that drilling on our "line" of apartments would start next week and that they would be putting plastic over the windows and locking the door from the outside through the middle of October.

I contacted my landlord (our landlord is the individual owner of the condo unit we're in and in no way affiliated with the building managment) and informed him of the construction and asked if he could propose a solution to the problem.

He said that there was no way that he was lowering the rent and that we had never asked him specifically about the construction, so he wasn't liable. Furthermore, he said that our broker was at fault for not checking with the building to confirm what his agent had said.

I'm curious if anyone can help outline what my rights are:

1) Is he responsible for what his agent represented at the showing of the apartment?

2) Since he appeared to know about the construction, but choose to not tell inform us...were we fraudently induced into signing.

3) Who should I be focusing on...my broker or my landlord?

Bottomline, I never would have signed a one-year lease for an apartment with a balcony and great views if I'd known that the windows would be covered and the door locked for over six months (particularly summer and fall).

Please Help!!!
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Re: Balcony Repairs: What rights does a tenant have?

Postby Cranky Tenant » Wed Apr 24, 2002 7:40 pm

This is nonsense. If you rented an apartment with a balcony you shouldn't have to ask if it will be available each and every month of the year. You certainly wouldn't ask if the bathroom, kitchen or bedroom was going to be usable each month and you should be compensated for each month you can't use it.

The agent should have been aware of the situation but your LL is ultimately responsible since he's the one who receives the rent.
I'm a cranky tenant NOT a cranky lawyer.
Cranky Tenant
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Re: Balcony Repairs: What rights does a tenant have?

Postby MikeW » Thu Apr 25, 2002 1:21 pm

I'm assuming this is a non-regulated apartment (free market rental of a coop unit).

If you wanted to get out of you lease, you probably have a good case. I don't think you can force a rent reduction directly, but the threat to the LL (unit owner, in this case) of having to re-rent the unit with the construction going on my make him more negotiable.

As far as the agent, if you walk away from the apartment, you might want to try to get you're fee back. This may be a bit harder, since it depends more on who said what to whom and when, which, short of tape recordings, is difficult to prove.
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