We've all been there: something very annoying or very serious is broken in our apartment and the landlord won't deal with it. Well, what can you do? The short answer is not much if it's not their responsibility, and a lot if it is their responsibility. New York state requires landlords to handle anything that's an essential service, and in larger buildings in New York City they might even be obligated to fix terraces and appliances.
Here's what you should consider:
Leave without notice: If the issue is extremely serious and would be expensive to repair then this is your best option. It's best to send them a termination letter and you also should have documented the problem carefully in case they try to sue you.
Withhold rent until it gets fixed: You have the right to withhold rent payments in New York until your landlord makes a necessary repair. This is your best option if the problem would cost more than a month of rent to fix. This works even better if you band together with other tenants.
Repair yourself and pay less rent: If you don't want to go anywhere and the repair would cost less than a month of rent to fix then your best option is to fix it yourself by hiring a contractor. Save the receipt and take the expense out of your monthly rent payment.
Sue your landlord for damages: When you do file a suit in small claims court your landlord will get notice, and this might make them act. This is more of a last resort in New York since you can get the same or similar results by withholding rent.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.