I received notice today from Coned that my landlord hasn't payed the electric bill for the common areas(they were very clear that my apartment won't be affect since I have a seperate account)I'm concerned because many of the other tenants are disabled and loss of the elevator service for example will be potentially dangerous what can I do?
Landlord / Tenant Lawyer
Dear I am concerned:
Organize the tenants as a Tenants Association, and jointly pay the Con Ed bill, if the landlord does not. You may find that an organized group of tenants can achieve better results than one isolated tenant acting alone.
The law allows tenants to deduct from rent any amount of money paid to a utility to keep the electricity on for the common areas.
New York State Real Property Law Article 7, section 235-a provides in part:
"***§ 235-a. Tenant right to offset payments and entitlement to damages in certain cases.
1. In any case in which a tenant shall lawfully make a payment to a utility company pursuant to the provisions of sections thirty-three, thirty-four and one hundred sixteen of the public service law, such payment shall be deductible from any future payment of rent.
2. Any owner (as defined in the multiple dwelling law or multiple residence law) of a multiple dwelling responsible for the payment of charges for gas, electric, steam or water service who causes the discontinuance of that service by failure or refusal to pay the charges for past service shall be liable for compensatory and punitive damages to any tenant whose utility service is so discontinued.***"
You may also pay a visit to Bronx Legal Services and or Bronx Legal Aid, especially if there are disable persons in the building.
Read more about organizing a Tenants Association at:
The answer provided to you is in the nature of general information. The general proposition being that you should try to avoid a bad outcome if you can.