Q: In January, I moved right into a two-bedroom, market-rate condo on the Higher West Facet. Days later, a intestine renovation started within the condo above mine, inundating me with noise all day lengthy. As a highschool instructor, I’ve needed to go away the condo to show my Zoom lessons elsewhere. My landlord gained’t inform me when the work will probably be carried out, and right now the contractor instructed me the demo has induced a leak in my ceiling. I don’t know what to do at this level. Please assist.
A: Your landlord ought to, on the very least, repair the leak and let you know when the development work will probably be carried out.
“It is mindless that they gained’t provide you with a timeline,” stated Michael Mintz, the chief govt of MD Squared Property Group, a property supervisor in Manhattan.
Your landlord might make your life extra tolerable in different methods throughout this course of. Mr. Mintz steered giving tenants noise-canceling headphones to drown out the din, setting noon quiet hours throughout which employees take lunch breaks, and, if needed, giving hire concessions.
You might really feel powerless, however you will have leverage. You would doubtlessly break the lease, claiming a constructive eviction as a result of you’ll be able to’t be in your condo through the day. “It’s sometimes fairly troublesome for a tenant to show that circumstances within the condo rise to the extent of constructive eviction,” stated Jennifer Rozen, a lawyer who represents tenants. “However throughout Covid, when there may be the expectation that the tenant spend virtually all of their time within the condo, judges might take a extra lenient method to this protection.”
Should you had been to maneuver out, your landlord could be left looking for a brand new tenant in a market the place rents are down and vacancies are up. In all chance, your landlord wants you. So maintain that card to your vest. You might want to make use of it.
Within the quick time period, demand in writing that administration repair the leak and restore any injury to the ceiling instantly — and get a timeline. Ask for a hire abatement, too, as a result of the fixed noise might violate your warranty of habitability, a state legislation. You might even have the ability to get an injunction in opposition to the owner to cease the work or full it inside a set time period if the circumstances are discovered to create a nuisance. Your case could be stronger if the owner rented the condo to you figuring out work was about to start and didn’t disclose that info, stated Robert J. Braverman, a Manhattan actual property lawyer who has dealt with instances about development defects.
One other route: Name 311 and ask that the Division of Buildings ship an inspector to test for violations, hazardous circumstances or unlawful work. The division might situation a stop-work order if hazardous circumstances are discovered. That may carry you some peace and quiet.