Q & A By JAY ROMAN Published: June 16, 2011 in The New York Times
Q We rent a one-bedroom apartment on the fifth floor of a walk-up. Our buzzer system has not worked since the day we moved in last October. This has been a huge frustration for us, as we have missed deliveries and it has given us concerns about security. We’ve repeatedly asked our superintendent and the owner of our building to fix this, and all they tell us is that they are working on it. What can we do?
A “The tenant can file an immediate action in court claiming that the landlord has violated the law by not fixing the buzzer system,” said David Ng, a Manhattan lawyer who represents tenants. In fact, he said, if the problem with the buzzer causes security concerns, the proceeding may be brought by an “order to show cause,” which will allow the court to expedite the hearing date and issue an order directing immediate repair. “Once this ‘order to show cause’ is served upon the landlord,” Mr. Ng said, “most landlords will hasten the repair.” He said the tenant might also be entitled to an abatement in the rent for a breach of the warranty of habitability for the duration of the problem.