Wear and tear are granted in any occupied property. But what happens when, after a breakage, a malfunction or a wear-out, the landlord decides to take their sweet time to fix the problem?
As a tenant, you have a duty to pay rent on time and adhere to the terms of the lease agreement. In exchange, you have a right to a habitable property. However, it is not uncommon for the landlord to fail to make certain repairs when called upon to do so.
What is the landlord responsible for?
While it’s the landlord’s job to ensure that the rental property is habitable per New York’s “Warranty of Habitability” law, you need to understand that every repair request is unique. Consequently, this means that some repairs might not fall within the landlord’s responsibility.
That being said, the landlord must take care of issues like mold, leaks, gas problems, electric problems, HAVC problems, insect and rodent infestation and broken locks. Basically, these are issues that touch on the tenants’ health and safety and impact the property’s habitability. So, what do you do if you feel the landlord is walking away from their responsibility?
Refer to your lease
Most lease agreements outline the process of initiating a request for a repair. If the lease requires that you call a specific provider for the repairs, do so.
You want to try to follow the laid down process first. Then, be sure to create a journal of the repair requests you make. Write down the date and time of the request as well as the nature of the repairs you are requesting and keep copies of all documents, papers and written communication about the issue.
What if they don’t act?
Landlords are required by law to keep the rental property habitable. If they fail to respond to your request for repairs, you need to explore your legal options.