If you can't get the answer you need here, you can have a local landlord / tenant lawyer investigate the situation. Avvo has an excellent "find a lawyer" tool to locate a top-rated attorney near you who offers a free consultation.
Please CLICK the button if I HELPED or was BEST ANSWER. No attorney-client relationship is established and responses here are general first impressions. You should consult with a lawyer about your problems. More about our firm is located at www.knowthelawyer.com.
Dear Oneonta Tenant:
You and your neighbors experienced a loss of an essential service for a one half month period, and even if the landlord diligently pursued a repair, the loss of heat is considered a breach of the statutory warranty of habitability. But New York does not provide for a tenant or a group of tenants a simple expeditious remedy to secure a rent abatement or rent rebate on rent paid in full when the landlord provided less than full essential services. In New York a tenant is given the choice of instigating a nonpayment proceeding by withholding rent and thus risking eviction, the expense incurred in hiring an attorney and the loss of time spent in building up a case to convince a judge in a trial to compensate the tenant for part of the rent paid for the two weeks without heat. This is not simple and most tenant attorneys would not recommend risking an eviction lawsuit when the big success should the tenant win is a part of a part of one month rent received back as a credit or as a victory in a counterclaim.
The other way for the tenants to deal with this is Small Claims Court. An eviction proceeding is not involved and tenants may sue without an attorney.
Still you all may find that consulting with an attorney as a group and allowing the attorney to negotiate a rent credit for everyone without any lawsuits may be the best approach.
You may read about your rights as a New York Tenant at:
And about your rights in Otsego County and finding legal services:
And about Code Enforcement in Oneonta:
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.