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What should you expect from your landlord?

If you finally found an apartment you can afford in Manhattan, Brooklyn or Queens, you are probably excited to settle in and start establishing yourself in the neighborhood. You will want to see how long it takes you to get to work from your new home and learn about the best places to get your favorite coffee or pizza.

You will certainly want to get to know your neighbors and learn the idiosyncrasies of life in your building. Hopefully, your fellow tenants won't be sharing stories about freezing winters when the heat is off and the shady characters who live on the third floor. In fact, there are certain expectations you may have as a tenant.

Safety is vital

You can't be too careful, and your landlord can contribute to your feeling of protection by attending to the building's safety and security. Some of the most basic expectations you may have as a tenant can include your landlord taking the following actions:

  • Securely locking windows and doors, including deadbolts where appropriate
  • Installing new locks on your unit doors after the previous tenant moved out
  • Escorting contractors making repairs in your apartment
  • Inspecting and replacing smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors as needed
  • Maintaining adequate lighting inside and outside of the building
  • Keeping stairways and other common areas clear and free from hazards
  • Establishing a pet policy that protects you from dangerous animals
  • Carefully vetting other tenants

As much as you would like to believe your neighbors are all law-abiding citizens, this is not always the case. If your landlord fails to do criminal background checks or other screenings to ensure you are surrounded by respectful and respectable people, your safety may be in danger.

Neat and orderly

While the stereotypical landlord walks around with a tool belt on his hips and a plunger in his hand, your landlord does have certain responsibilities to keep your apartment building clean and in working order. A landlord who leaves garbage around may attract rodents, bedbugs or roaches, which can make your world a nightmare.

Your landlord should also make every effort to complete repairs in a timely manner, especially those essential elements like heating and plumbing. Replacing light bulbs in hallways and common areas may seem like a small thing, but dark areas can be hazardous both because of the risk of tripping and the potential for intruders to hide without detection.

Although your landlord may have many responsibilities, all of them contribute to creating a healthy environment for you and your fellow tenants. If conditions in your apartment are unsafe or unsatisfactory, you don't have to accept them and live with it. As a rent-paying tenant, you have every reason to fight for your rights to a clean, safe place to live.

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