Any tenant has the right to negotiate a rent decrease, especially if you look at advertised rental rates for units like yours and see that they’re significantly lower than what you are paying. If you’re a model tenant who pays your rent in time, it may be worth it to your property manager to keep you.
Of course, it’s rare for landlords to grant such a decrease, but there’s nothing that stops you from doing it, usually when you’re thinking about renewing the lease.
If you live in a rent-controlled apartment, though, you have even more rights in regard to rent reduction in New York City.
Making a Decreased Services Application
If you live in a rent-controlled apartment, certain conditions allow you to make an Application for Rent Reduction based upon Decreased Services.
The first is defective conditions in your apartment requiring emergency repair, or which have caused you to vacate your apartment.
- Fire damage
- A municipal order vacate order
- No water or electricity
- Inoperable toilets
- Broken door locks
- Window to fire escape won’t open
- Broken or unusable fire escapes
- Collapsed or collapsing ceilings, walls, or floors
- Water leaks cascading or soaking electrical fixtures
- Broken window glass (not cracked)
- Inoperable AC in the summer season
You can also make an application if you have no heat or hot water in your apartment, but must receive a copy from a city, municipal, or county agency showing a finding of lack of heat or hot water.
There are also some non-emergency defective conditions you can report. For example, if your dishwasher is broken and your landlord won’t fix it, this is a form of decreased services. You must notify the owner or agent in writing at least 10 days before filing your complaint and retain a copy of this notice and proof of mailing or delivery to the owner or agent.
If the Division of Housing and Community Renewal finds that a valid decrease in services has occurred, they will issue a written order to reduce the rent and direct repairs. The effective date will be retroactive to the first date of the month following the service of the complaint on the owner. The rent will not be raised again until the DHCR issues a rent restoration order when the owner proves they have corrected all the conditions leading to the rent reduction order.
Do not just stop paying your rent or tucking it into escrow without speaking to an attorney. This can get you evicted. You still have rights and there are still standards the landlord must live up to, but you want to make sure you are following the proper legal procedure.
If you’re having trouble getting your landlord to repair your apartment, contact McAdams Law. We can help you protect your rights.
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