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Lack of heat in rental property sparks lawsuit in New York

With the cold weather bearing down on New York City, it is an unfortunate reality that there will be landlords who will deprive residents of required amenities such as heat. There are certain landlord obligations that must be adhered to, including providing heat to tenants. If there is a failure to do so, it could be the basis for a lawsuit to settle the situation. This and many other issues can come up, making it necessary to have legal advice to deal with landlord-tenant disputes. This was recently seen in one situation in New York.

Tenants in an apartment building have filed a lawsuit against the company that controls their property, alleging that there is insufficient heat. The residents have evidence in the form of a heat sensor. This transmits the temperature to an app on the web and also retains a record of violations. A non-profit runs the program that oversees the app. The residents staged a protest with help from the Brooklyn borough president to bring attention to their problem.

According to the law, landlords must provide heat to residents between October 1 and May 31 on an annual basis. For the hours between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., the internal temperature must be a minimum of 68 degrees if the outside temperature falls below 55 degrees. From 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., the temperature must be 55 degrees inside if it falls below 40 degrees outside. If these temperatures are not adhered to, then it is considered a violation.

While heat-related issues will come to the forefront during the winter, there are a multitude of problems that tenants can be confronted with. These matters can be due to a failure of landlord obligations, issues with habitability, and other problems with a rental property and landlord/tenant law. Those who are dealing with an issue with their rental property need to protect themselves, which could require the help of an experienced and qualified attorney.

Source: PIX 11, "Brownsville tenants file lawsuit against landlord over lack of heat," Shirley Chan, Dec. 1, 2016

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