A major problem for many buildings in New York City is leaking water which causes plaster to collapse and mold to grow. Many residents who face this issue are renters and not home owners. As such, these individuals have to wait for their landlords to address the problem while the problem, itself, persists or worsens.
Two years ago, New York City adopted a law that required landlords repair the “underlying conditions” that cause mold to flourish and ceilings to collapse. The problem is that in New York City, which houses nearly 3.5 million apartments, there is only enough resources to target 50 buildings a year for “underlying conditions orders.”
Indeed records show that since the law was passed in 2013, the city has targeted only 69 buildings, including thirty six in Brooklyn, twenty in the Bronx, eight in Manhattan, four in Queens, and one in Staten Island.
Furthermore, in many instances in which mold and other housing code violations were reported, instead of addressing the “underlying conditions” order, the city implemented an “alternative enforcement” program that merely required the landlord to eliminate code violations. Thus, rather than requiring elimination of a mold problem altogether, for example, landlords can get away with just “painting over” an infected area.
However, a group of City Council members is sponsoring a tenants rights bill that would require landlords to fix recurring problems like mold — instead of simply covering them with layers of paint. The new bill would allow tenants to go to court directly to compel landlords to make the repairs rather than deal with lengthy administrative procedures at the City’s Housing Preservation & Development Department.
If you or a loved one feel that your rights as a tenant have been violated, contact the skilled New York City landlord-tenant attorneys at the Law Office of Tanya Hobson Williams. Please contact us online here or call (718) 210-4744 to discuss your rights as a tenant and the solutions available to you.