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My landlord refuses to fix my heat, hot water and mold in the house I rent from him after hurricane sandy. What do I do.

Oceanside, NY |

He has had his insurance co. come to evaluate and has or will receive a check for the damage done. We have not been able to live in the house. Out of our pocket we have ripped down walls and treated the mold, ripped up the wet floors and replaced them with wood, and bought a refrigerator to replace his and payed an electrician to certify that we could have the electricity turned back on. He is now telling us we have to be out in 40 days because he is not fixing the house. We have no place to go and have a 5 year old with special needs. He won't answer our phone calls. What are our rights as tenants and who do we contact to make him make the repairs for us to return home.

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Attorney answers 2


Generally, your landlord has a duty to keep your place habitable and in New York, not having heat in the winter renders an apartment uninhabitable, sounds like you have other problems with your house which may also qualify as rendering your house uninhabitable.

In such cases, if your landlord does not make a reasonable effort, within a reasonable time, to remedy the conditions rendering your house uninhabitable, this amounts to constructive eviction. In this case, you are allowed by law to seek equivalent accommodation, the cost of which would be responsibility of your landlord.

I advise you to immediately turn to the New York State Bar Association for free assistance related to Hurricane Sandy.
Best of luck and take care!

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Dear my landlord refused to fix the house?

New York law mandates that all residential tenants be able to live in a home that is habitable and that is free from conditions of disrepair that make the home dangerous and or detrimental to the tenant's life health and safety. This is the promise of the Warranty of Habitability.

A tenant with a written lease or an unwritten lease, is protected by the Warranty of Habitability.

Written leases may contain provisions relating to the right of the landlord to cancel the lease in the event of a catastrophe. That clause should provide information to you about the landlord's duty to repair the premises, abatement of rent for the period the premises is not habitable, the right of the tenant or landlord to cancel the lease.

If the lease does not contain that type of provision, and the lease is otherwise in full force and effect, the landlord may be obliged to repair the home for you.

Whatever you paid out of pocket to repair the house and restore electricity and a new refrigerator, may not be sufficient to cause a court to compel the landlord to restore the house to live in condition.

In any case, you are not evicted unless a court agrees with the landlord. Since no lawsuit has begun, you have plenty of time to hire an attorney right now to protect you in your home and to defend your tenancy rights, compel the making of repairs and restore you to your home.'

Good luck.

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.

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