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Several issues with landlord/super/apartment

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Several issues with landlord/super/apartment

Postby pebblespebbles » Mon Aug 15, 2016 7:48 pm

I rented a unit of 1/15. When I moved in there was still a lot of work to be done, including painting the bathroom, repairs, cleaning etc. It took several weeks for anything of these tasks to be completed, months for some times, and other things were never addressed. I am going to numerate the most current, pressing issues. I appreciate your responses

1. I pay my rent by check. When I signed the lease, I was told the tenants use an online payment system. I was also told beforehand that, I would pay my rent on the 15th of every month. The first time I asked for login information for the site, I was told that they payment system only accepts rent on the 1st. Most recently, when I enquired again, I was told that the rest of the tenants complained about the fees. When I visited the website, it clearly states that there are no associated fees.

2. The listing for the apartment, said there would new appliances. The stove was already installed but the fridge was not. I was told the fridge would be delivered on MLK, it never came. There is a lot more to the issue with getting a fridge, but long story short, there is still not fridge and it is August 15.

3. Repair requests either take several weeks or are completely ignored.

4. Recently, the ceiling in the hallway collapsed. I received a letter from the super saying that they had to wait for funds before the ceiling could be repaired. I waited a couple of weeks, meanwhile, everyone someone showered upstairs, water would drip into my hallway. By the way-- you could actually see the water coming down. Eventually this was repaired, the ceiling was not repainted and my hallway was left a mess. I requested that it be cleaned up - never happened -- I ended up cleaning up myself after several weeks.

5. In the past two days, the breaker has gone off twice ( and many times before). Please note the person I am referring to as the super has told me that he is in fact, not the super, and he only agreed to help the landlord out. I followed the super's instructions to return power to the apartment, and he gave me two sets of incorrect instructions! With the excuse that he was busy and made a mistake!

Questions:
1. What am I rights in these cases?
2. Should there not be a super?
3.How can I confirm that my tenancy/contract is legal? (I am concerned about why they will not let me use the payment system)
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Re: Several issues with landlord/super/apartment

Postby TenantNet » Tue Aug 16, 2016 12:45 pm

Rent payment., It's our understanding that any legal tender is acceptable. Online rent payments may be an option, but are not required.

For the due date, check your lease. If not specified to some other day of the month, then it would be the 1st of the month. You can only see about fees by getting a clarification from the service, or check your credit card statement. It would be unusual for such a site to not impose fees.

With all these troubles, I would investigate to see if the unit should be rent stabilized. First, get a rent history from DHCR. Ask neighbors who lived there before and if they were rent stab.

On the fridge, have you notified the LL in writing?

Sounds like you have a bad LL. Welcome to NYC. This is normal.

You can withhold rent, be taken to housing court and use the lack of repairs as a defense. In the alternative you can start a HP Action.

If you are indeed unregulated, your rights are few. You can do something, but understand the LL might decide to not renew your lease.

Check the NYC Maintenance Code for super requirements -- and call 311 if it's not kosher.
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Re: Several issues with landlord/super/apartment

Postby pebblespebbles » Mon Aug 22, 2016 11:22 am

Thank you for your response. I requested a rental history. Even though I went ahead and submitted my request by e-mail, I had issue because to request rental history, you must include apartment number. There are no apartment numbers in the building. When I moved in, I was told to just write the street address.

Re: Issue with the fridge

For this month, I subtracted the cost of fridge from my rent. The super, months ago, had sent me a link to the fridge that would be delivered. I subtracted $679 from my $1400 rent. I emailed the landlord with the super cc-ed, telling them that I would be subtracting this amount. I did not receive a reply and I submitted my rent.

The landlord has now responded and she says that she will return the partial rent and I should submit a check with the full amount.

I did research and I found that the apartment is a private home that has been illegally converted into a multi -dwelling apartment. three visits have been attempted by the Emergency Response team on 5/23/2016, 5/20/2016, and 03/24/2016.
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Re: Several issues with landlord/super/apartment

Postby TenantNet » Mon Aug 22, 2016 11:49 am

Of course DHCR needs an apartment number because that's how records are kept.

That can also be problem with the Post Office and other city agencies. I know City Planning tracks the actual street address, but I don't think they track unit numbers. Ask old tenants if there used to be apartment numbers. Do some digging. How does the USPS deliver mail? The LL is required to supply mail boxes or a person who collects and distributes mail (like a hotel).

Taking the cost of a fridge out of the rent can trigger a non-payment in housing court. Did you use that money to buy and install a fridge? Do you have the LL's written permission? Be careful on this. No court would allow a $679 deduction for not having a fridge.

Sounds like you're in bureaucratic hell. You have to keep at it and try to setup a time for inspection with the ER team. Call them and try to set up a time.
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Re: Several issues with landlord/super/apartment

Postby pebblespebbles » Mon Aug 22, 2016 12:03 pm

Thank you for your response. Ok, I can write a check for the full amount. Or tell the LL that I will order the exact fridge whose link I was sent.

The landlord never responded to my email saying that I'd deduct the rent. But she sent me an email a few days after I submitted the check.

The mail gets delivered to a mailbox and then we, the tenants, are supposed to bring all mail inside and set it on the table.

Thank you very much for you help. It's very difficult navigating this, most times I'm on hold.
How is this page supported? do users donated?
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Re: Several issues with landlord/super/apartment

Postby TenantNet » Mon Aug 22, 2016 12:25 pm

I would not order the fridge on your own unless you have the LL's written permission. You can end up in housing court if not careful.

Sounds like the LL is in violation of the mail distribution rule. See http://tenant.net/Other_Laws/HMC/sub2/art12.html
and http://tenant.net/Other_Laws/HMC/

The USPS might be able to enforce it, but their method might be to stop delivery to the building completely. The other alternative is to withhold rent, use the mail issue as a defense, or bring a HP action (probably the better route).

The site is able to operate from advertising revenue.
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Re: Several issues with landlord/super/apartment

Postby pebblespebbles » Sat Oct 29, 2016 7:57 pm

Water was leaking from somewhere in my bedroom. It was going on for two days. I called the super (he says he's not the super, but he is the person we are supposed to contact) it was leaking through the night and the next day as well. No one came to look or anything.

I finally isolated it as coming from the radiators in my bedroom. My Persian carpet was soaked - it's now stained and the dye has run.

Am I able to take the reasonable cost of getting the carpet cleaned off my rent? Do I have to get approval from the landlady? What if she says no?


Thanks!
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Re: Several issues with landlord/super/apartment

Postby TenantNet » Sat Oct 29, 2016 8:09 pm

Our non-legal opinion is that you can do so, but the downside is that the LL may take you to court for non-payment. There is no "repair and deduct" law in NYC, but a warranty of habitability defense might result in an abatement of rent. Make sure you take many photos, get a quotation of what it will cost to repair/clean the carpet, and proof that you contacted the LL or super, and that they did nothing. Be prepared for a lot of lies from them. Can you prove the person is the super? Anything in writing from the LL? Is he on the HPD database as being the super? (In the future you should contact the LL if the super is negligent).

You can also complain - if they say he's not the super - that there is no super in the bldg.

I would not "ask" the LL. I would tell them what happened and that you expect them to cover cleaning costs. See if they are willing to negotiate. If not, start turning the screws.
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Re: Several issues with landlord/super/apartment

Postby pebblespebbles » Fri Nov 11, 2016 7:27 pm

Thank you! Unfortunately, the 'super' is an negligent as the landlord. The basement has flooded twice in two weeks and we were left without hot water for 3 consecutive days. Thank you for your guidance.
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Re: Several issues with landlord/super/apartment

Postby TenantNet » Fri Nov 11, 2016 9:10 pm

Document everything. Make copies of everything you send or receive, including postmarked envelopes. Maintain a diary of events and any phone calls.
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Re: Several issues with landlord/super/apartment

Postby pebblespebbles » Sun Nov 13, 2016 10:52 am

Thank you.

I believe I have kept document of everything, from emails, texts, pictures.

I sent an email(removing costs to repair damaged carpet from rent) to the landlord and they responded that I should (1) read the law (2) if don't like where I live they will accept a 30 day note (3) they expect full rent on time and in full.

Although I looked into a housing claim, I am unsure as to 'where I should start' and what I should name as my claim? Is it the illegal conversion, is it building maintenance, is it that there is no super, is it that our mail is picked up my other residents because there are no apartment numbers? I am not sure where to start.

I have contacted 311, Emergency Team Response on several occasions. To keep the story short, a possible search warrant notice was placed on our doors, this is after several 'attempt to inspect' notices were left on our main doors.

Thank you for your help.
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Re: Several issues with landlord/super/apartment

Postby TenantNet » Sun Nov 13, 2016 11:39 am

Chances are what you describe falls under the LL violating the "warranty of habitability."

When they say "read the law," they ignore their obligation. You can raise the WofH as a defense and counterclaim if the LL brings a non-pay against you in Housing Court.

You can also file with DHCR for lack of super or other services (although DHCR is not tenant-friendly).

For not having apartment numbers, I think that falls under HPD and the Housing Maintenance Code (or Multiple Dwelling Law). Call 311 for that - but don't hold your breath for them to respond. Also the USPS might be interested.

You can also bring a HP Action in Housing Court to force the LL to make repairs.

What you describe is not a search warrant - it's likely a note left by the HPD inspector if you weren't there when they were.
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Re: Several issues with landlord/super/apartment

Postby pebblespebbles » Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:13 pm

Hello,

My landlord has asked that I provide my bank details so he/she can return my security deposit.

I have not been in this situation before. Please advise. Certainly, I understand the importance of protecting my information. I'm more looking to see if there is any guidance in the law.

Thanks!
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Re: Several issues with landlord/super/apartment

Postby TenantNet » Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:41 pm

If your LL wants to know what bank you use, or your account information, there is no requirement that you do so. And we advise strongly that you do not give out personal information like that to anyone.
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Re: Several issues with landlord/super/apartment

Postby BubbaJoe123 » Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:22 pm

Your landlord doesn't need your bank details to return your security deposit. He can just send you a check.
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