A Landlord’s Failure to Maintain Property

Recently, a Bronx Housing Court Judge sentenced a Bronx landlord to 30 days in jail for neglecting to make needed repairs on his apartment building. While the landlord claimed he was unable to make needed repairs to his apartment building due to lack of funds, he was unable to prove this claim in court. His 12-unit Bronx apartment building had more than 300 open violations and the building is considered, according to an article by Denis Slattery in the New York Daily News on October 9 to be “one of the 200 most distressed structures in all of New York City.” Slattery’s article also states that as a result of the landlords negligence, the city has spent over $100,000 fixing water leaks, providing heating fuel, removing lead and on other emergency repairs. He quotes the commissioner of the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development, RuthAnne Visnauskas as saying “If you neglect your property and your tenants, disregard your legal responsibilities, and defy court orders, we will seek the maximum penalties available under the law,” HPD is responsible for developing and maintaining the city’s affordable housing units. The agency is headquartered in Lower Manhattan, and includes smaller branch offices in each of the city’s five boroughs.

It is a landlords lawful responsibility to maintain their property. These responsibilities are outlined in many laws and codes which are enforced by the HPD and include issues regarding heat and hot water, bed bugs, infestation, carbon monoxide detection, mold, and lack of window guards. Potential housing code violations and tenant rights and responsibilities are available on the HDP website.

Last month the Daily News also reported on a tenant lawsuit in Manhattan Housing Court over an uninhabitable apartment in Lenox Avenue, citing collapse ceilings and walls, rat infestation and mold.

Many landlords fail to ensure for a tenants’ safety. Tenants who have concerns regarding landlord neglect may choose to seek the legal advice of a lawyer who handles tenant and landlord disputes. If you or someone you know has suffered illness or injuries or from apartment accidents and from landlord negligence, the experienced New York attorneys at Okun, Oddo & Babat can help you. Don’t hesitate to contact us or call us at 212.642.0950 to discuss your case.

Article by Madeline Mohr for Lavery Design Associates, Ltd. copyright 2013.
This article may not be reproduced without permission from the author.