The Work in My Building Is Endless and Invasive. Can I Withhold Rent?

Q: We reside in a penthouse apartment with a wraparound roof terrace in a big substantial-increase in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Two weeks back, a maintenance crew arrived unannounced to erect an enormous gantry on the terrace in get to entry home windows beneath that want repairs. We had been instructed the perform would get a handful of times, but they are nowhere around completed. Since the crews need access to our condominium to access the terrace, they occur and go at all hours, from time to time arriving ahead of we are out of mattress, and traipse as a result of all working day. Even though they perform, we have no privacy unless of course we lessen all the blinds and sit in the darkish. The employees do not persistently put on masks, and balked at my thoughts about their vaccination standing. Can we established any restrictions?

A: A landlord is entitled to affordable obtain to a tenant’s condominium, with adequate notice, to complete important routine maintenance. Perform on facades or home windows would absolutely drop into that category, in accordance to Jennifer Rozen, the handling lawyer of the Rozen Legislation Group in Manhattan.

“The housing upkeep code offers broad leeway to landlords to obtain residences,” Ms. Rozen said.

But there are restrictions. Your condominium simply cannot be turned into a long-lasting staging region, and you are unquestionably entitled to peace and peaceful prior to you get out of bed in the early morning. You are also entitled to set limitations about masking throughout a pandemic, especially in gentle of the Omicron variant.

“You can absolutely lay some parameters,” Ms. Rozen mentioned. “They simply cannot be coming in and out to the stage where by you essentially develop into constructively evicted.”

You are possibly entitled to a hire abatement for the months that you are inconvenienced. Compose a letter to the landlord, or hire a attorney to compose one particular on your behalf. In the letter, lay out your calls for: You want the workers to stick to a timetable that works for you and your family members you want them to comply with Covid basic safety safeguards and you want a lease abatement for the inconvenience.

Tell the landlord that you will withhold lease until eventually a suited settlement can be achieved, which will absolutely get their interest. Remind them that you are enthusiastic to get this operate finished, way too, as you’d like to regain use of the terrace as soon as achievable.

You are in a powerful place suitable now, as the eviction moratorium is however in influence by means of Jan. 15. Even if evictions resume, the backlog of situations will be huge, and you will be at the back again of that line. “People are safer now additional than they at any time have been when it arrives to withholding their hire or refusing obtain,” Ms. Rozen mentioned.

With that assurance, you can hold your ground till your disorders are satisfied.

For weekly electronic mail updates on residential real estate news, indicator up right here. Stick to us on Twitter: @nytrealestate.