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Lack of Ventilation

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Lack of Ventilation

Postby AdayaGahetva » Thu Nov 03, 2011 8:42 am

Hi, I am a foreign student in New York City and rented an apartment with a roommate in the east village. I signed the lease which looked a standard form.
After living in the apartment for two weeks I realized that in the kitchen there is no ventilation. Basically the kitchen is a room with no window and no exhaust fan. In September it was very warm outside and the state of air in the kitchen was insaluber. I notified the landlord who got very aggressive saying that it was not a law requirement. Then I went to a conselour at my university and he told me that probably the apartment, a 1br, was illegally converted adding a wall to create my room out of the kitchen+living room and this is why there is lack of ventilation. I notified the landlord with certified mail again about the lack of ventilation and also that in the apartment the smoke detector is not working and there is no carbon monoxide detector. He did not reply and on verbal mention he got very aggressive. My roommate also became aggressive and threatened me in order that I leave and sublet my room so he can keep the lease.
I do not know what I should do about this; about a month has passed since I wrote to the landlord. The point is that I have had a major surgery so I would like to have some rest before moving again. I also had to give three months deposit and I am afraid that if I end the lease they won't give me them back.
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Postby concord » Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:50 am

I have no answer in respect to the ventilation requirements.

However you are correct to be concerned about your security deposit. Many tenants end up chasing their landlord (LL) for the return of the security deposit.

In your case you may be chasing your ‘roommate’ and it may become even more difficult to get your money back.

Some LL’s become creative and they invent many reasons for which you owe them money that is to be deducted from the deposit. Reasons such as the tenant having caused damage to the apt or the tenant having moved out at a later date than the tenant actually did move out.

The tenant then takes the LL to Small Claims court at which it may be decided that the LL is entitled to make such deductions from the deposit.

If you are willing to move out early then you should pressure your ‘roommate’ to get your security deposit returned to you in full BEFORE you move out.

If you leave before you get your deposit back then make sure you have proof of the actual date upon which you left and proof that you did no damage to the apt. Proof means photos and documents that a judge can understand and that your LL or ‘roommate’ can not dispute. Either way, I would be very reluctant to leave the apt with somebody owing me three months of deposit. I would apply the deposit toward the next three months as rent payments and then leave.
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Postby TenantNet » Thu Nov 03, 2011 10:36 am

Please clarify.

Does the kitchen have a stovetop, oven or any device to cook food? Is it electric or gas?

Have you moved out or not?
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Postby AdayaGahetva » Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:25 am

The kitchen has a stovetop and oven. It has gas and sometimes the pilot flame goes off because the oven is very old. This was for me another cause of concern but I have been told that in the US it is common to have gas ovens with pilot flame (in my country we all have electric ignition, even for gas ovens).

I have not moved out because my lease officially expires June 2012.
I am wondering what I would have to do and if I can void the lease in case there is this issue. Is this connected with warrant of habitability?
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Postby TenantNet » Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:42 am

Then ventilation is required no matter what (it might be required anyway - I think for all rooms other than closets, hallways and so on. Bathrooms require a window or fan, same for kitchens).

I don't have the cites readily available, but check the Housing Maintenance Code, the Multiple Dwelling Law (both on this site) and the NYC Dept. of Buildings. Of course an architect or engineer would know off the top of their heads.

Some older buildings might be grandfathered in on some requirements, but I don't think that excuses a lack of ventilation.

I'm pretty sure any recent oven will have an electric pilot. I remember many years ago a gas pilot was standard.

If you haven't moved out, then I would resist the roommate's tactics. It's as much your apartment as it is the roommate's. Indeed, if you moved out, you might be liable for the rent even if you are no longer there. And for the three months security, I think that's also illegal. See: http://tenant.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=4902
and
http://www.tenant.net/Rights/CTRC/ctrcf006.html

If the LL fails to deal with the issues, then in my opinion, you would have cause for breaching the lease. But I'd also be prepared for the LL to come after you for the rent. If they are willing to release you from the lease, make sure you get it in writing.

Een if you leave, I would report the conditions for the next tenant that has to deal with this.
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