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Can my landlord force me to pay back rent?

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Can my landlord force me to pay back rent?

Postby CanOfBeans » Thu Jul 16, 2015 9:07 pm

My wife and I rent a unit in a mixed-use building. Two months ago our landlord began replacing our radiators with baseboard heating, a project he assured us would take only a weekend or two. Now the project has dragged on for more than two months. The workmen are not in our place working every day but they do make a mess and every time they show up we need to vacate as the noise frightens our toddler. I have told our landlord in no uncertain terms that this protracted disruption to our lives is unacceptable. Now he is making noises about redoing the electrical, and we can only imagine how long that will take. We have had it and are preparing to move, something we had been planning to do anyway. I haven't paid rent since May and have no intention of doing so until this project is finished or we have moved, whichever comes first.

So my question is: Can my landlord sue for back rent or otherwise compel me to pay it? We never signed a lease. I presume that means he is renting to us illegally. Thanks.
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Re: Can my landlord force me to pay back rent?

Postby TenantNet » Thu Jul 16, 2015 10:34 pm

The baseboard heating might be illegal, not to mention that if electric, it could be put on your electric bill. BYC requires central heating in buildings unless DOB grants a waiver. See the Housing Maintenance Code at http://www.wildboar.net/law/landlord-te ... 2art8.html

Can he sue for back rent? Yes. Would he win? Good chance. You might be able to get a partial abatement.

Not having a lease is not otherwise illegal. Is the building registered with HPD? That might stop the ability to collect rent.
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