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Is your landlord taking steps to winterize your apartment dwelling?

Last winter was one of the coldest and snowiest on record in New York City. As record cold temps and multiple nor'easters pounded the region, many residents were forced to stay home. For some of these residents; broken hot water heaters, malfunctioning boilers and frozen or broken water pipes compounded an already difficult situation.

With winter just around the corner, the infamous Old Farmer's Almanac is once again predicting more cold and snow than usual for the whole Northeast region. For New York City tenants, it's wise to be proactive and insist that a landlord take steps to ensure that a building's vital equipment and appliances are in working order and remain operable for the upcoming winter months.

With the shortened daylight hours, colder temps and snow also comes slippery sidewalks, turning on the heat, use of space heaters, rodent infestations, leaky roofs and frozen pipes. For New York City tenants, a landlord is responsible for ensuring that a building and individual apartment units are safe, habitable and free of hazards. Tenants who have questions or concerns about the safety and health of their building or apartment are advised to contact their landlord.

In cases where a tenant discovers that components of a building are in need of repair or dangerous, it's wise to put everything into writing. Doing so should help prevent any communication misunderstandings and also provides a paper trail in the event a landlord fails to remedy a dangerous situation and a tenant chooses to take legal. Additionally, in the event that a tenant subsequently suffers an injury due unsafe conditions, having written documentation can mean the difference between receiving compensation and being left out in the cold.

Source: FindLaw.com, "A Tenant's Rights to Landlord Repairs," Sept. 25, 2015

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