Landlords have an interest in blaming tenants, rather than taking responsibility for the cost of repairs. Almost every time McAdams Law represents a tenant with problems in an apartment the landlord says, "The tenant caused it, and I'm not responsible." So you need to be precise about the nature of the difficulty, how long it's existed, the circumstance or conditions that led to it, and your attempts to seek correction from your landlord.
Your landlord may be aware of a dire condition in your apartment that needs to be addressed, yet refuse to treat it effectively as a way to get you to move out. This is more likely to be the scenario if you are a rent-stabilized or rent-controlled tenant. Sometimes landlords allow dangerous conditions to exist so the tenants will move out.
For example, the firm represented several tenants with bedbug infestation in their apartments. Bedbugs are small insects that suck blood and leave red, itchy sores. Incidents of bedbug infestation have now reached epidemic levels in New York City. They infest the bedding and furniture, and attack in the evening while their hosts are asleep. When one apartment is infested, the problem can quickly spread to other units in a building. Consequently, the condition needs treatment in a building-wide manner.
In a recent case, the client's apartment was infested with bedbugs originating from other units. The landlord denied this, but tenants in other apartments complained about the very same problem. McAdams Law was able to obtain a Court Order forcing the landlord to clean the building and eliminate the infestation. The Courts will insist that landlords correct serious problems, and punish them if they don't. So don't hesitate to enforce your rights against a negligent landlord, who puts your family and you in danger.
If you have bad conditions in your apartment, always ask other tenants in your building if they have problems similar to yours. In the case just mentioned, the firm was able to prove the landlord's denial was in fact untrue, because the client made a point of speaking to other tenants and discovered they had the same problem.
Act quickly. Landlords know many people won't fight hard to hold onto their apartments when conditions are terrible. That's why it's vital to address bad conditions immediately, and take aggressive action to protect your rights. If you allow conditions to deteriorate, you expose yourself to more financial and emotional strain that ultimately wears you down, and makes you a victim. As the situation worsens, the costs of correcting it increases for the landlord. That means he or she's likely to fight you harder, and you may have higher legal costs to get resolution.