Unfortunately for renters, New York law never explicitly states the number of days a landlord has to make a repair before you can do something about it. When judges consider the issue, they typically apply a standard of “reasonableness”—was it reasonable for the landlord to wait as long as they did to fix the issue?
We know—that’s vague. Past court cases can offer a few specific examples:
- Reasonable: Three weeks to fix a"mild" lead hazard in the bathroom
- Unreasonable: 18 hours to fix a front door lock that was broken during a burglary
Your best bet is to use common sense. If you’re asking the landlord to replace a busted pipe, that should be done relatively quickly—it’s a common repair, and it will make a big difference in your quality of life. But if your request is more along the lines of "There's mold in the bathroom ceiling and it needs to be replaced,” that's a major repair and will probably take some time. (More than 30 days is probably too long, though.)
Also, if you're dealing with something that has an immediate effect on your health or personal safety—like a broken heater in winter or a busted front door lock—your landlord needs to act immediately.
If your landlord hasn't fixed something after a reasonable amount of time has passed (or has flat-out refused to make a repair they're responsible for), you have a few options in New York: hiring a repair person yourself and deducting the cost from your rent, withholding rent, or—if the situation is really bad—leaving your rental altogether and suing them for damages.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.