Signing a lease gives you legal rights. It also gives you legal responsibilities. Do you know what they are? Thanks to New York State Senator Liz Krueger’s 2009 Housing Update — there’s one easy place where you can find out everything you need to know and more. Here’s a thumbnail version.
Tenants Are Entitled To:
*A safe, well-maintained, and livable apartment
*Hold tenants’ meetings in the building
*Regular extermination services — roaches beware!
*Free garbage and recycling pick-up with covered garbage cans
*Janitorial services for the building and a building in good repair
*Plumbing, heating, fixtures, doors, and functioning locks, including on the outside door
*Landlord installed appliances
*Adequate lighting in common areas and a peephole for your door
Tenants Are Required To:
*Maintain apartment property
*Discipline their pets(if pets are allowed)
*Keep noise levels down from TV/Stereo/etc.
*Cover floor with rug/carpet if required
*Keep stairwells, fire escapes, and public hallways clean and clear of obstructions
*Pay rent on time
*Maintain the riders on your lease/the lease itself
If you’re having issues receiving the services listed above, don’t fret. There are a few options available for you. First, as you likely learned in college with the noisy neighbor — it’s easiest to go directly to the source. So, speak to your landlord. If that doesn’t alleviate your concerns, call the Central Complaint Bureau at 311. If THAT doesn’t work, you are entitled to go to Housing Court.
There’s a $35 filing fee, but you can indeed bring your landlord to court. I should caution you, though, that if you choose to go to court. . . you may have trouble passing a background check the next time you go through a leasing agent/management company. Of course, it’s totally unfair, but having gone to housing court labels you a trouble-maker to future landlords. That said, sometimes it’s still necessary. Just think on it, is all.
Additional topics in the Housing Update include: Rent Control vs. Rent Stabilization, Lease Renewal Options, Subletting and more.
Thanks for the info, Senator Krueger!