A lot of New Yorkers fall on hard times. This can leave them struggling to make ends meet, which oftentimes puts them at risk of eviction. But if you are facing the very real possibility of eviction, then you need to know that you might have a number of defenses available to you. One of them is to claim that your landlord has failed to maintain the premises in a way that keeps it habitable.
What makes a residence uninhabitable?
In broad terms, habitability means that your residence and the building where you live are kept safe and livable. There are many factors that go into a habitability consideration, though, including the following:
- Access to water
- Access to hot water
- Access to heat
- Electricity issues
- Flooding and leaking
- Existence of pests
- Existence of mold
- Broken appliances
- Leaking or broken bathroom fixtures
- Broken or missing locks
- Harmful fumes
- Dangerous premises
Any one of these issues may be enough to establish that your residence and/or building are uninhabitable.
Uninhabitable premises as defense and counterclaim
Claiming uninhabitable conditions might not only protect you from eviction, but it might allow you to recover compensation from your landlord. In order to succeed on one of these claims, though, you’ll need to demonstrate that your landlord either knew or should have known about the conditions and, despite that knowledge, he or she failed to remedy the conditions.
Proving your case
If you’re dealing with uninhabitable conditions, then you need evidence to support your claim. This might include communications that you’ve had with your landlord, pictures of your residence or building, and witnesses who can back up your observations. You’ll need to know how to develop compelling legal arguments that utilize this evidence in light of the law, as well as anticipate your landlord’s arguments. Fortunately, you don’t have to deal with these matters on your own. Instead, you can find aggressive advocacy from an experienced attorney of your choosing.