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No Gas to Stove/Oven since December

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No Gas to Stove/Oven since December

Postby noStovefor3months » Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:53 am

Hi All,

Looking for some advice here on my current situation. In late December (believe the 23rd), I received a call from my landlord that they would be temporarily shutting off the boiler/heat in my apartment to do some maintenance in the building, and that if we were going to be temporarily displaced, they’d help us find accommodations.

1 Week later, received a call that we wouldn’t be able to move back in for about 2-3 weeks as they were still working through the problem. Thankfully I had family I could stay with, so the Landlord very reasonably didn’t charge me rent for the duration I was displaced.

I was able to move back into my apartment in mid-January, however was told that a bigger problem was discovered with gas lines into individual apartments, and the gas to my stove/oven would remain turned off until they could get the City & ConEd to inspect/certify the work.

All in all, I’ve now been living without a Stove/Oven for 3+ months. Landlord has given moderate rent reductions for a few months (~6%), however this situation has gone on for long enough that I’m planning on seeking further reductions or other options.
Given that my landlord still (3 months later) can’t give us a reasonable timeframe on the repair, is there any legal remedy I may have available? Or do I need to just continue following up with the landlord until more of rent is waived each month or they fix the situation? I'm spending more money getting microwave-able or takeout food than the rent I'm saving and its really weighing on my finances.
Thanks!
noStovefor3months
 
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Re: No Gas to Stove/Oven since December

Postby TenantNet » Tue Mar 27, 2018 1:47 pm

This sounds like a con job from the LL, and it sounds like you're a bit naive for buying it.

First, most work in units do not mean you need to be displaced. Yes there are times with general constuction (for example, if the floor joists are being replaced), but I can't see how plumbing work requires that.

Second, heat/hot water and cooking gas systems are usually separate. If your cooking gas supply is stopped, that should not mean your heat/hot water go out as they are usually serviced by the boiler in the basement.

Which begs the question, is there central heat from the basement? If your LL has replaced that with individual heating systems for each apartment, that's generally illegal. We have discussed this many times on this forum. Search for it. Central heat is required unless the LL has obtained a special permit, which I understand is not that easy to get.

For your displacement, are they paying the bill? Did they move all your possessions?

You don't say, but are you rent stab? Have you investigated whether or not you should be rant stab? Most LLs lie about that. Have you gotten a rent history from DHCR?

As for cooking gas, yes Con Ed must inspect but that can only take a week, two at most. I went through this so I'm familiar with the process. But Con Ed won't inspect until the LL finishes the work and DOB says it's OK.

Has the LL offered you further abatements for not having access to a stove? They should offer that IN ADDITION to what it is costing you for takeout. Keep a log of all food you buy.

You have remedies, but they're not always great. One, you can withhold rent. But then the LL will take you to Housing Court. Second, you can bring a Housing Part ("HP") Action in Housing Part. That's a different type of law suit. In my experience that was quicker, but it depends on the LL and the judge.
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Re: No Gas to Stove/Oven since December

Postby noStovefor3months » Tue Mar 27, 2018 2:08 pm

Thanks for the prompt reply!

Few clarifying pieces on info:
1. Original work was for the central heating, and that was when we were displaced as they could not guarantee running water or heat. Landlord offered to put us up in a hotel (and we would've paid rent on time) or we were able to withhold a pro-rated rent for the days missed (which is what we took).

2. LL claims that the issue with the cooking gas system was discovered while doing the work on the heat/hot water system. This was something we've found out about in early January when we were told the Heat/Water system for the building had been repaired and we could move back in.

3. Don't think we are rent stab but I will look into it.

4. Our current situation is we are living in the apartment without the cooking gas system operating. The landlord has conceded a bit of rent (%6 a month or $170ish) and supplied us with a hot plate in January. Hot plate takes 45 minutes to boil water and had a $25 price tag.

It feels like for the time being we should be holding LL's feet to the fire on getting the system fixed, and withholding more rent in order to put pressure on them?

Please let me know your thoughts
noStovefor3months
 
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Re: No Gas to Stove/Oven since December

Postby TenantNet » Tue Mar 27, 2018 2:50 pm

First, what I forget to say is that tenants should NEVER agree to displacement, temporary or not, unless they have an ironclad agreement negotiated by a tenant attorney who has experience with this sort of thing. Some do not have the right experience. Any agreement must allow for compensation and other provisions to protect the leasehold. Chances are the problems you have been facing would not be as great with a secure agreement.

No. 1, in my opinion, does not require moving out. Of course it would be damn inconvenient, but I don't think that requires moving out. Only DOB can issue a vacate order.

Cooking gas pipe replacement depends on if the building's pipes pass a pressure test, so there is not any escaping gas. That can be very dangerous. Buildings can and do explode. 1-2 months is not uncommon, as long as the LL is working on it, and if they have and post the correct permits. DO NOT allow them to work on this without the right permits.
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