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Cleanliness Counts: Claims of Filth & Vermin as a Defense

Under New York State law and the NYC Housing Maintenance Code, landlords are required to maintain premises in a clean and habitable manner. If your building is infested with roaches, flies, mosquitoes, mice, rats, or other vermin, is filthy, or has timely garbage disposal issues, the landlord is in violation of the law. If the premises suffer from these conditions and you are being evicted in a nonpayment proceeding, citing them constitutes a defense for withholding the rent. Be prepared to support your claims in court. Photos are effective evidence, especially of traps or extermination devices with dead insects, mice or rats. Have written records or copies of prior complaints. If you have children, mention it in your papers, as these conditions pose a potential health hazard to kids in particular.

Attention New York City Tenants: See this new page that has just been added to the McAdams Law main site on Bad Conditions .

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