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Queens tenants' rights include access to safe, secure premises

Upon completing the often challenging task of securing a rental property in New York City, a tenant might have high hopes that the rest of his or her experience will be smooth sailing. Unfortunately, however, that is not always the case, and all too often landlord-tenant disputes arise over a variety of issues. Tenants may benefit from being aware of some of the common ways that disputes arise and what their rights are in such situations.

For example, tenants have certain rights to be secure in their apartments. A landlord must ensure that an apartment's door is outfitted with a peephole and a chain door guard. New York City tenants may also share their rental properties with their children, immediate family, and one additional guest, even if these people are not listed on the lease.

In addition to having premises that are secure, a rental property must also be safe from other hazards. Specifically, the premises must be sanitary and physically safe under a warrant of habitability. Required safety measures include sufficient heat in the winter as well as the absence of dangerous conditions such as black mold. Similarly, landlords are required to control any insect infestations, such as cockroaches or other pests. Expenses related to these exterminations may not be added to a tenant's monthly rent.

If a landlord has failed to meet his or her duties regarding any of the aforementioned standards, or is violating the lease in another manner, a tenant may have a cause of action and may be able to legally withhold rent payments. An attorney may be able to offer much-needed guidance and assistance with a prompt resolution in such a matter.

Source:, "How To Ensure Your NYC Landlord Doesn't Screw You Over," Melanie Lieberman, accessed Sep. 9, 2016

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