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Lack of Bathroom Ventilation?

NYC Rent Regulation: Rent Control/Rent Stabilized, DHCR Practice/Procedures

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Lack of Bathroom Ventilation?

Postby Baxter6 » Tue Nov 07, 2017 5:12 pm

Hi! So... I'm rest stabilized, in an old tenement, built approx 1885. The building has 16 residential units, 4 on each floor, floors 2-5, and a commercial tenant on 1st floor.
We (tenants) have just filed an HP, and inspectors have begun inspecting our apartments.
My bathroom has never had any ventilation whatsoever, and no window. It seems the other tenants do have some kind of ventilation, mostly connected to an old air shaft. I have heard this is a violation, but the inspector was unsure, questioning whether or not it was a violation if it had always been that way, or some sort of grandfathering, etc?
I can't seem to find any concrete answer searching online.
Thanks!
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Re: Lack of Bathroom Ventilation?

Postby TenantNet » Tue Nov 07, 2017 5:45 pm

This was posted in the wrong area, so I moved it to Rent Regulated forum area.

Look at the NYC Housing Maintenance Code and the NYS Multiple Dwelling Law. Generally bathrooms are required to have either a window for light and air, or a vent, generally to the roof. But older buildings might not have that, and might not be required to have that. Older buildings are generally grandfathered on many requirements.

I doubt you will find this online as it's often at the discretion of the agency. If other tenants have an air vent, and if their bathrooms are in the same line as ours, then that begs the question why not? Also consider what it would take to run a vent from your unit to the roof.
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Re: Lack of Bathroom Ventilation?

Postby Baxter6 » Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:29 pm

Thanks! Yes, I have looked online for housing code, but there are no clear answers regarding old buildings/grandfathering. I will look at dwelling law. And yes, my neighbors all have vents or air shaft windows, so... I don't know?
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Re: Lack of Bathroom Ventilation?

Postby TenantNet » Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:26 pm

Yes, but are they in the same vertical line as you?
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Re: Lack of Bathroom Ventilation?

Postby Baxter6 » Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:39 pm

Yes, the ones in my line do have ventilation.
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Re: Lack of Bathroom Ventilation?

Postby TenantNet » Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:51 pm

Fans or windows? So see if you can find out why that have it, and you don't? Was it something that was done when the building was constructed? Or was it rehabbed at some point where the current situation was created? You need to find out, from tenants who were in place at the time if there was a rehab, or research the building itself. You mentioned the air shaft - does the air shaft reach to where your apartment is? Pull all the details together and find a story that explains it all. That would be the first step.
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Re: Lack of Bathroom Ventilation?

Postby Baxter6 » Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:06 pm

Ok yes- that makes sense. Thanks. I'll see what DOB records say. The Windows of the air shaft are sealed up and for ex the person above me now has a vent to the roof, I believe.this is an old cold water flat, with shared bathrooms in center hall of each floor and with 4 studios total per floor. In around the 40's (I think), the bathrooms were incorporated into apartments and additional ones installed. Oddly, most of our apartments differ slightly in layout, except all gas stoves etc follow the same lines l, front and back. There has never been a boiler installed- we have all had our own individual hot water heaters! I'll check with a few tenants about what they know about past modernization.
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Re: Lack of Bathroom Ventilation?

Postby TenantNet » Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:22 pm

Individual water heaters? I think that is illegal. Check the NYC Housing Maintenance Code, section 27-2028 (although that might refer to heat and not hot water. Do you have individual or central heat? And do you pay for heat and hot water? If so, I don't think that's legal, at least under RS.
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Re: Lack of Bathroom Ventilation?

Postby Baxter6 » Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:30 am

Lol, yes! Everyone has always been shocked by this!
Every unit, of which they are only 16, has had their own gas heater, gas stove, and gas hot water heater, that we pay the utility bill for the landlord provides no utilities at all.
We've had various inspections over the years (and several legal matters), I'm pretty sure that we were grandfathered in somehow -it's never been an issue and as I said we've had inspectors in the building several times. This is all in the process of changing, however.
And I can tell you it was awesome when fireballs we're shooting out of my antiquated freestanding gas heater two years ago!
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Re: Lack of Bathroom Ventilation?

Postby TenantNet » Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:37 am

First, here's the section of the code:
http://tenant.net/Other_Laws/HMC/sub2/art8.html#27-2028

or https://law.justia.com/codes/new-york/2 ... -2028.html

Also see http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politic ... -1.2473499

and another https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/201512 ... heat-cuomo

I can't say if the best remedy is in the courts or with DHCR. But the violation would need to be placed by HPD.

For both the ventilation and heating/hot water units, things might depend on the facts of your building, when any rehab occurred (and the laws at that time), any grandfathering and so on.
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Re: Lack of Bathroom Ventilation?

Postby Baxter6 » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:32 am

thanks so much for all of your help!!
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