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Moldy Apartment & Construction without Notice

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Moldy Apartment & Construction without Notice

Postby Moldy_apartment1 » Thu Nov 08, 2018 5:46 pm

Hi,

I've been living in an apartment in Queens, NY since May. Ever since I've moved in, I've been having a slew of health issues, requiring very expensive medical bills (severe eczema, allergies, depression, anxiety) and a leave of absence from work. I had a hunch about what it could be, and today I found out that it could be mold in my apartment.

I've found mold on my doorframe in the past and the landlord brushed it aside. My room has been smelling musky, and I've been sleeping in my living room (without wooden floors) for the last few days to cope. I also have wooden floors that are severely warped due to water damage. When I moved in, the landlord said it was coated over and cleaned so there were no issues.

I didn't want to call mold inspection professionals without calling my super, so the super tells me today that there's construction being done in my building due to the fact that the building isn't properly sealed off and isn't waterproof. He even told me that since I'm on the top floor, I'm more susceptible to mold. Aren't we legally required to be told this information?

Should I pay for an inspector to come in for professional confirmation? I'm hesitant because last night, I was also locked in my own apartment (which doesn't have a fire exit by the way), and after contacting my landlord without a response, I contacted a locksmith to break me out. The charges came out to $342, but my landlord refused to pay and is requiring my roommate and I to foot the bill.

What should I do? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Cheers

Tl;dr: Apartment isn't waterproof and building Super admitted we are susceptible to mold, and in turn, my incessant health problems. We had no notice about the construction work being done. What should we do?
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Re: Moldy Apartment & Construction without Notice

Postby TenantNet » Thu Nov 08, 2018 5:55 pm

First,

On mold, start by calling 311 and getting an inspection.

Never trust the super. He works for the LL.

What do you mean you were locked "in" you apartment? Do you mean you were locked "out?" Please give some details. If there is no fire exit, is there a second means of egress? Again, details please.
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Re: Moldy Apartment & Construction without Notice

Postby Moldy_apartment1 » Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:00 pm

Hi, thanks for the quick response.

I will do that! Thank you for the advice. The lock broke from inside my apartment, so I physically couldn't open the door to leave. The locksmith told me it was because it was a cheap lock (brandless) and he had to replace it. I have a balcony, but I'm on the 7th floor with no fire ladder or anything like that.
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Re: Moldy Apartment & Construction without Notice

Postby TenantNet » Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:13 pm

Do you have a second means of egress? Fire escape? A second door to the hallway? Sprinklers (these can be substitute for egress)? Anything? If not call 311 right away and get an inspection. This is serious.

"the lock broke from inside your apartment" -- what kind of lock is/was it? Is it a double-cylinder lock where you need a key from either side to open the door? Why would the door handle itself not just open the door? If you need a key to get out from the inside, then that is illegal.

If the door hardware was illegal, it seems to me you have a case to deduct it from the rent (however, the LL might take you to court over it). I would - for now - keep pressing him.
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Re: Moldy Apartment & Construction without Notice

Postby Moldy_apartment1 » Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:17 pm

None of the above. There is only one door to the hallway and I was locked in, which is why I waited an hour for the landlord to respond before I called a locksmith to break me out. It's a regular lock, but it's been faulty for a while. Whenever we put the key in from the outside, it'd spin and get jammed.

Eventually, yesterday when I tried to leave my home from the inside, the lock snapped and i couldn't leave. I do not need a key from the inside.

I do not see any sprinklers as well. I just filed a complaint to 311 about the mold, perhaps I should file another one for egress?
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Re: Moldy Apartment & Construction without Notice

Postby TenantNet » Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:28 pm

So the lock might be legal, but it was broken and I assume you had previously notified the LL. You should be able to prove you had notified the LL. Because if the seriousness of the situation, I would seek reimbursement. Of course, not being stabilized, you might jeopardize a renewal, but that's a small price to pay if there is a fire.

As for egress, again, call 311 and get an inspection. How old is the building? I don't see how a building would be accepted for construction without a second means of egress. Look at the history of complaints in the building on the HPD and DOB databases, and the Cert. of Occupancy if it has one.

Mold is important, but egress is life-threatening.

On 311, you might get some action, and you might not. But it's important to get the conditions on record, and there's a presumption that any violation is sent to the LL. I would also send cert. mail to the LL outlining all your complaints. But make it clearer as to how you've done here. Don't mix everything all together.
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Re: Moldy Apartment & Construction without Notice

Postby Moldy_apartment1 » Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:29 pm

Appreciate the advice. My roommate and I seriously overlooked the egress issue until I couldn't leave the apartment and got serious anxiety over it. I'll file that complaint immediately. Thank you for your time!
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Re: Moldy Apartment & Construction without Notice

Postby TenantNet » Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:35 pm

revised my post above.

When was the building constructed? Are any units rent stab? Is there a tenant association in the building?
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Re: Moldy Apartment & Construction without Notice

Postby Moldy_apartment1 » Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:12 pm

The building was constructed in 2008. I don't think there are any units that are rent stabilized. I haven't heard anything about a tenant association
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Re: Moldy Apartment & Construction without Notice

Postby TenantNet » Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:20 pm

The units would not be RS on their own, but if the building receives 421(a) tax benefits, there might be RS units or affordable housing units where a percentage of tenants are selected by lottery. That gets complicated.
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