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Lock breaks, fixed, breaks, fixed, breaks, fixed...

Rights for non-regulated tenants

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Lock breaks, fixed, breaks, fixed, breaks, fixed...

Postby Naomin » Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:48 pm

I am renting an apartment in a 2 family house. The landlord lives elsewhere. Three times now the front door lock has broken: the second time, the doorknob came off completely and we were locked in; the upstairs neighbor jimmied it; the 3rd time, I couldn't get in from the outside and fortunately the guy in the illegal basement apartment was able to go through that way and let us in. The landlord has refused to fix it. I am withholding my rent for the meanwhile. I have a 10 year old. I informed the landlord I did not view it as a safe situation. What are my rights?

thanks!!
Naomi
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Postby TenantNet » Sun Mar 10, 2013 6:18 pm

Your rights are to read this forum, and this web site, and learn your rights.

That's to start. Have you notified the LL by mail? Do you have a lease? Have you filed a complaint with 311? We can't even begin to answer unless we know more, and unless you do some basic things first.
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Lock breaks, fixed, breaks, fixed, breaks, fix

Postby Naomin » Sun Mar 10, 2013 8:23 pm

Thank you for the advice. I have done quite a bit of research but didn't find anything pertinent to this particular problem. Lots of people on this board have situations where the lock was broken and they paid for a new lock and wanted the landlord to refund them. In this case, the lock keeps breaking - and keeps getting fixed. It seems to be in a gray area. And, I don't feel safe. So, before I call 311 or notify the landlord of my decision, I'd like to know if anyone else has experienced a situation like this.
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Postby ronin » Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:55 pm

You never answered whether or not you have a lease or are month to month. The specifics regarding locks aside, lots of tenants have crappy chronic repair situations. You can do things about it, but there may be consequences.

You have a 10 year old, without a lease there is not a lot that you can do that will not risk the LL trying to throw you out. With a lease you have more rights and more protection against knee-jerk retaliation.

But as Tenant said, you have to give us much more information. Are these repairs actual repairs or cosmetic fixes. It makes no sense for a lock to keep jamming- it poses a fire hazard and a safety hazard.
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Postby Naomin » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:06 am

I do have a lease. Last month I withheld my rent until just before the 15th; the landlord said he would work with me by disabling the doorknob lock, leaving only one lock above it. The upstairs neighbors objected to this, because you have to physically lock it when you leave the house and they felt it was too easy to leave in a hurry and leave the place unlocked - I agree. I'm not sure what they would do if the landlord went ahead with his plan. They seem to be happy with the partially working lock. So I feel stuck between accepting the bad lock, or having the landlord disable the doorknob. btw, he groused about changing the doorknob - said he'd already done it. Seems it's always breaking, even when it's new. I'm tempted to withhold my rent again until he does.
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