If you're in court fighting with the landlord over repairs and finally agree on a settlement, the stipulation's wording is critical. The landlord's lawyer may try to be as vague as possible with wording concerning landlord obligations, using phrases like "inspect the apartment and repair as necessary." Be sure to list specific conditions and instead say: "repair if defective." Then, when you write the completion date, it pins the landlord down on what items are at issue and when repairs must be finished. If something isn't done on time, the only argument should be whether it is defective. Still, it's better to have your own Tenants' attorney review papers before you sign them. Few non-attorney tenants are knowledgeable enough to draft legal language.
Attention New York City Tenants: Get information on bad conditions in your apartment at the McAdams Law main site here.