Thursday, April 30, 2015

Excessive Noise and Vibrations Violate Warranty of Habitability

Excessive noise and vibrations violate a New York State law known as the “warranty of habitability.” That statute — Real Property Law § 235-b — requires landlords to ensure that all residential rental units are free of conditions detrimental to the occupants’ life, safety and well-being, even when the hazards are caused by third parties (like fellow tenants).
If you have not already done so, document the disruptions (by date and time, etc.) and once you have compiled a log of events, forward a copy of that information to your landlord by receipted delivery. The data you supply can be used by the owner as the basis of an eviction proceeding against your neighbors.
If the conditions persist, and your landlord refuses to require your neighbors to carpet their unit (as required by the lease), then you will be able to assert an independent claim against your landlord for violating the law.
Keep in mind, that should you need to take the matter to court, the problem will be one of “proof.” To increase the likelihood of winning this kind of case, you may want to consider hiring an expert to measure the noise and vibration levels you are experiencing. An expert’s analysis will buttress your position and will likely be more persuasive than your mere recitation of the facts and circumstances.
In addition to withholding rent and asking a judge to award you a rent reduction or “abatement,” you may be able to get an injunction from your local Supreme Court directing the landlord to take all appropriate action to reduce or eliminate this annoyance.
Since there are pros and cons to every option, it’s best to speak to a lawyer so that you can arrive at a strategy that will best suit your purposes.

Posted by Kirby Sommers

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