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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    1

    Default Rights to Withhold Rent or Break Lease Due to Chronic Water Leaks

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: New York.

    I currently rent an apartment in New York City and have been a tenant of this apartment for four and a half years. At the end of December 2010, a leak developed from the ceiling in my bedroom (my apartment is on the top floor). The leak developed sometime during the day when I was at work, so water damaged my bedding, mattress, and box spring. I contacted my landlord as soon as it was discovered (she was out of town) and the maintenance guy, who told us he could not come to the apartment because of road plowing issues. My boyfriend (a tenant of the apt as well) opted to go up onto roof, clear the snow, and clear the drain. The water stopped leaking at that point. The roofing company came to the apartment two days later, patched the spot on the roof, but did not address the issues of drainage we discussed with them, my landlord, and the maintenance worker.

    Because the bed was damaged and cracks were still in the ceiling, we slept in our living for a week and a half. After some pressure, my landlord agreed to cover the cost of the new bed and box spring and I replaced approximately $300 of bedding out of my own pocket.

    Since that time, small leaks and wet spots have continued on the ceiling. My landlord was called each time a leak or spot happened. The roofing company returned several more times to look at the roof and patch more.

    Finally, after over a month of on and off leak issues, the bedroom ceiling developed a significant leak that required 5-6 different buckets to contain. A leak then spread into the living room. Since I was home at the time, a little amount of property was damaged, but we are now without the use of nearly half of our bedroom and part of our living room. The roofing company returned, addressed some of the drainage issues and have said they would return to patch again.

    At this point, I just want to get out of this apartment. We are required to give 30 days notice before moving and are about to pay our next's month rent. We have limited use of both the bedroom and living and have been extremely inconvienanced by this entire situation. I basically feel that I deserve a discounted rent for the next month and freedom to leave my lease without the 30 days notice, but do not know if I have justifiable cause for that or what my rights are.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
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    73,074

    Default Re: Rights to Withhold Rent or Break Lease Due to Chronic Water Leaks

    I would try negotiating with the landlord to agree to release you on less than thirty days notice, or for a discount for your last month's rent. I feel for your frustration, but nothing we say will keep your landlord from deducting money from your security deposit if you leave on less than full notice. It's much better to work things out than to have to waste your time trying to get money back through small claims court, where your landlord will likely report that he was extremely diligent in repairing the roof every time you called. If you can't work things out, do you have any photographs to show how the leaks interfered with your use of the unit? They would likely be helpful.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Rights to Withhold Rent or Break Lease Due to Chronic Water Leaks

    You answered a question for me. My ll's bf says he can't contain the leak coming from the roof til spring because of the snow. I guess it IS possible after all. I hope you get out. Best wishes.

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