Am I allowed to file a complaint on my landlord to the local authority? (My rental agreement with landlord is subject to NYC rent stabilization laws. I have several issues with my landlord such as not always providing minimum heat mandated by local guidelines. Filing a complaint may allow me to obtain a rent reduction under the local law.)

Answer:

If your landlord is not keeping to the agreement of the contract with regards to the price [rent stabilization] or maintenance [heating], and your only recourse is to file a complaint to a local authority, this would be permitted. If the landlord is Jewish, he should first be summoned to Bais Din, if he refuses, Bais Din will give permission to turn to the courts.

4 Responses to “Complaint on Landlord”

  1. Thanks for the quick response. To follow-up, I don’t think I will summon landlord to Beit Din nor turn to housing or small claims court. Since I have several issues which I have formally communicated to landlord, I have an option to forward them to the local authority as part of an application for a rent reduction (based upon a decrease of building-wide services) and let them decide if they are valid issues. Although the application may technically be considered a complaint, I don’t believe it involves penalties to landlord, just a rent reduction. I would like to know if this is allowable. (Please note the local authority themselves gave me this option because I had countered landlord’s attempt under the law to increase tenants’ rent for certain building improvements that were done. If landlord would accept the issues I raised, I would not seek a rent reduction.)

    • yes, this would be permitted. what is the local authority?

      • NYS DHCR. I wanted to follow-up to let you know what happened subsequently. After about a year, I received a response from the agency. The ruling was to restore the building-related services in question and to grant a rent reduction. The rent reduction is intended to be temporary, since after the building services were restored, the landlord requested the rent to be restored. The dollar amount in this case was insignificant, but filing the complaint allowed for the building services to be restored. Thanks again for your help on this.

  2. State of New York Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR). I believe they oversee rent-regulated buildings in NY.

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