How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ely Your Own Question
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 99430
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
Type Your Legal Question Here...
Ely is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

What further action I can take against my landlord,besides

This answer was rated:

What further action I can take against my landlord,besides HPD about a leak in my apartment.
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am sorry to hear about your situation. What exactly do you wish to do here - do you wish...

1) To withhold rent; or
2) To move out without liability?

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Should I withhold rent to force him to fix-it or get a housing attorney and sue.


Thank you for your clarification.

Under NY statutory and case law, there is an implied warranty of habitability:

"In every written or oral lease
or rental agreement for residential premises the landlord or lessor
shall be deemed to covenant and warrant that the premises so leased or
rented and all areas used in connection therewith in common with other
tenants or residents are fit for human habitation and for the uses
reasonably intended by the parties and that the occupants of such
premises shall not be subjected to any conditions which would be
dangerous, hazardous or detrimental to their life, health or safety.
When any such condition has been caused by the misconduct of the tenant
or lessee or persons under his direction or control, it shall not
constitute a breach of such covenants and warranties."

Solow v. Wellner, 658 NE 2d 1005 - NY: Court of Appeals 1995; Real Property Law § 235-b.

If the landlord is not following that implied warranty - and it sounds like they are not - the tenant has two choices:

1) the tenant may sue for a rent reduction;
2) the tenant may withhold rent to fix the issue, and if the landlord attempts to evict for "non-payment," the tenant would have to justify his withholding.

Here, you have either option, really.

If one wishes to sue for rent reduction, an attorney is recommended. May I recommend the NY Bar referral program - here. The attorneys are vetted and qualified. You should be able to find an attorney you are confident with and whom you can trust, and who is available ASAP.

In serious cases, the lease can even be broken, and the landlord would have to pay the deposit back AND may be liable for the difference in whatever you'd have to pay for another lease that is comparable, plus legal fees.

Alternatively, one can attempt withholding, but should first send the landlord a letter requesting the issue to be fixed, formally, in writing. Example below:

Dear _______________:

As you know, Real Property Law § 235-b obligates the landlord to keep the premises in good condition. We have determined that you must make the following repairs promptly:


Please arrange to make these repairs promptly and let us know by letter, fax, or email what arrangements you have made to get each repair done in a timely manner. Should you not act within ___ days of your receipt of this letter, we reserve the right to withhold rent to fix the issue ourselves, or sue for reduction in rent.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Best regards,



Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE my answer when we are finished. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces and then submit, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith. (You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.)
Ely and 4 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you

Related Legal Questions