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.
Once you've made a formal request, there are three things you can do to get your landlord in Texas to make necessary repairs.
- Leave without notice
- Stop paying rent
- Fix it yourself
As a last resort, you can also sue your landlord in small claims court. When you file a suit in small claims court your landlord will get notice, and this might make them act.
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.
Related: Constructive Eviction in New York
Withhold rent until it gets fixed
You have the right to withhold rent payments in New York until your landlord makes a necessary repair. New York laws about landlord repairs never explicitly state that tenants have the right to stop paying rent until their landlord makes major repairs—but it prevents landlords from evicting tenants who do so. 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.
Related: Rent Withholding Laws in New York
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. If you decide to go this route it's important to make sure that the issues in need of repairs are sufficiently serious. Things like broken plumbing, broken heat, or mold are obvious qualifiers.
Although New York doesn’t set a specific cap on how much a tenant can deduct for a repair, previous court decisions require that the cost be reasonable. You should be prepared to make a case for the reasonable nature of your expenses.
Related: Repair and Deduct Laws in New York
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.