As a tenant, you may be responsible for maintaining your rental unit as a sanitary living space. This may involve simple acts such as regularly taking out your personal trash to the commercial dumpster on the premises. However, this may not involve making drastic home improvements such as installing a new hot-water heater. Actually, you may not have the right to make certain repairs at all. Read on to discover whether you, as a tenant, can make improvements and repairs to your rental unit and how a seasoned New York City real estate attorney at Zimmet Law Group, P.C. can work to keep your landlord accountable.
As a tenant, can I make improvements and repairs in my rental unit?
Simply put, you may be allowed to make basic improvements and repairs within your rental unit that may be easily reversible at the time your lease expires. For example, you may install overhead light fixtures, replace your shower head, and do other things of the sort.
However, for bigger projects, your landlord may have to call in the superintendent of the premises or otherwise a licensed contractor (i.e., electrician, plumber, etc). Without further ado, below are necessary improvements and repairs that your landlord may be responsible for initiating:
- Your landlord may be responsible for replacing light bulbs in fixtures that require a ladder to reach them.
- Your landlord may be responsible for fixing deadbolt locks on doors, window locks, and other security systems.
- Your landlord may be responsible for repairing broken heating equipment in the winter months.
- Your landlord may be responsible for mending hot-water heater leaks or its broken pump.
On the other hand, it is also worth mentioning that you may be required to grant your landlord or their contracted employee access to your rental unit. This is regardless of whether you request such repairs or not, but it is rather based on the repairs required by New York State’s Housing Maintenance Code and Multiple Dwelling Law.
What steps can I take to get my landlord to make necessary improvements and repairs?
You must understand that, as a tenant, you have the right to a safe and sanitary living space that your landlord cannot deny you. Therefore, you may take the following steps to get your landlord to make the necessary improvements and repairs in your rental unit:
- Deliver the message of your needed improvements to your landlord or one of their employees in person, by phone, or in writing.
- If your landlord ignores your message, then call 311, file an HP action in housing court, or contact a city agency (i.e., health department).
- If your landlord gives you a notice but still does not make the repairs, then withhold your rent until completed.
Without a doubt, your next step should be to employ a competent New York City real estate attorney. So please reach out to us at Zimmet Law Group, P.C. immediately.