Have you notified your landlord of conditions in your apartment that need repair and they fail to make the necessary repairs? You may be able to bring an action for repairs, also known as HP actions, in the NYC housing courts. These actions are actions that force your landlord, through the court, to make the necessary repairs. Once the commencement documents are filed, we ask that a city inspector come to your apartment to see if any of the conditions alleged are a violation of the multiple dwelling law. If violations are issued, we then ask the court for an order to correct those issues. The time for correction is set by statute. If your landlord fails to comply with the order to correct, we may be able to hold them in contempt of court.
Many times during the course of these proceedings, we discover that the conditions alleged are so severe they may entitle the tenant or occupant to a rent abatement. While a judge in the HP part does not have the power to grant a rent abatement, many times we are able to settle with the landlord in the context of the HP proceeding. Many tenants or occupants do not know how to navigate this issue, especially since the judge cannot provide legal advice on how to go about it. That's why it is a good idea to have an attorney experienced with HP proceedings to help you through these issues.
The alternative would be to withhold rent and wait until an eviction action is filed against you, but that is not always the best way to proceed. Eviction actions are public record and may be looked up by prospective (future) landlords. If a money judgment is entered against you, it may also affect your credit. An attorney can usually help you to get the rent abatement you are entitled to without the necessity of having the landlord file a case against you.