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Sloped floors - structural problems?

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Sloped floors - structural problems?

Postby ridethe7 » Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:25 pm

I've just moved into a new apartment in a prewar building (built 1914). Now that we're here, I'm noticing just how severely sloped the floors are. It doesn't necessarily bother me to have sloped floors, but I don't know how worried I should be about this, since it seems like a whole part of the building is sagging. Maybe I'm just paranoid after reading about that building collapse in Park Slope. But is this something to worry about? As far as I can tell, no HPD or DOB complaints have been made about it so far.

Building from the outside:
https://i.imgur.com/SFrs3B0.png

Better view of that crack - it's been filled in, so it's not new:
https://i.imgur.com/CbvMSc3.png

The sloping is bad enough that my apartment's cabinets come out from under the counter. Originally just figured it was shoddy construction in a cheap apartment, but now I'm worried it could have given way after installation
https://i.imgur.com/B5Woqeh.png

For what it's worth, there are also small cracks in other parts of the facade and the floors of the building hallways. The cracks tend to run parallel to the side that's sagging.

So if this IS something to worry about, what should I do now? The landlord says he's aware and it's nothing to worry about, but I'm obviously taking that with a grain of salt. More than anything I'd want this looked at by a structural engineer but I don't imagine there's a way to convince him to do that?
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Re: Sloped floors - structural problems?

Postby TenantNet » Wed Aug 05, 2020 2:16 pm

Sloped floors is rather common in older NYC buildings, but it depends on how old and the type of building it is. Buildings "settle" over time. It really depends on how pronounced the slop is.

It can cause issues with steam heat and the operation depend on the pipes having a certain slope. Settling of a building can cause banging in the pipes. The solution is to elevate the radiator, reintroducing a slope.

Unless you're playing marbles on the floor and unless there's a severe slope, I wouldn't worry too much.

However, I would be concerned about the outside cracking from the photo. Filling in the crack is cosmetic and would not fix a real problem. I's not saying it's a real problem as I'm not an architect or engineer.

You could call DOB and have an inspector come out. If really severe, they could order the building vacated, so keep that in mind.

You could also hire your own architect or engineer. That might run a few hundred dollars, but their report would be useful in court. There are a number of good engineers that will do the inspection. One - who we have not used, is at http://www.tenantengineer.com/ - I don't know if he's still in business as this site has been the same for many years. I have a feeling he may be less expensive that some Manhattan-based engineers.

If the situation is severe, the LL might have to relocate tenants in order to make structural repairs. That can take awhile, and LL's will often delay that or fight it in court.

In the end, I would have someone look at it, either DOB or your own person.
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Re: Sloped floors - structural problems?

Postby ridethe7 » Wed Aug 05, 2020 9:52 pm

Thanks for this. One thing I'm struggling to understand is, at what point does the slope start to be "severe"? My phone says it's about 2-3 degrees, which strikes me as pretty bad (the slope's visible to the naked eye if you're paying attention, water spilled in the kitchen winds up in the living room, and I need to hold my desk chair in place to not slide across the room), but I have no frame of reference to draw from. Will go back to the landlord and possibly DOB, but any suggestions would be helpful.
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Re: Sloped floors - structural problems?

Postby TenantNet » Thu Aug 06, 2020 1:26 am

I think "severe" is relative, and from what you describe, that's certainly a nuisance. I would not bring this up with the LL yet - do some research on this first. Ask your fellow tenants, especially those that have lived in the building a long time, if this has ever come up.

Some landlords might try to hide the problem or deny access to a professional you might wish to bring in to assess the problem.

You didn't say if you were rent stabilized or not. If not, then the LL is under no obligation to renew your lease.

In my mind something severe might have structural implications. As your photos pointed out, it's not just in your apartment, but also in (or close to) the building's foundation. Filling the cracks does not solve the problem. Not being an expert, I can't opine as to what degree of the slope might indicate structural issues. That is why you should consult with an architect or engineer, of with the building department. I don't have a lot of faith in DOB, but that's better than nothing.

BTW, remember that Google is your friend. I just searched for "sloping floors structural" and found this article: https://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/ ... 209_floors

But I would still recommend a professional assessment.
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Re: Sloped floors - structural problems?

Postby whoarethey » Fri Aug 21, 2020 3:44 am

if your floor is hardwood and you landlord wants to replace it with laminate plastic tiles,would that be considered similar of like materials. and your land lord agreed to put down the hard wood tile but changed his mind the day of repair and ripped the floors out and told you take the plastic or i will not give you any floors.
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Re: Sloped floors - structural problems?

Postby TenantNet » Fri Aug 21, 2020 8:20 am

Whoarethey, your question is difficult to understand and just one run-on sentence. This really should be a new topic.
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