Can I turn down an apartment froma housing authorityif the building is unsafe and I fear for the safety of me and my small children?

I am a NYCHA tenant and i put in for a transfer for a bigger apartment. I was recently shown an apartment in a building that has gang activity, home invasions, and robberies. The last tenant left the apartment from the same reason and felt like a prisoner in her own home. I was told if I refuse the apartment I would have to wait another year to apply for another transfer. As it clearly states online that, ” NYCHA provides decent and affordable housing in a safe and secure living environment”. Why do I have to be penalized for choosing me and my children’s safety over an unsafe building?

Asked on October 27, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you feel uncomfortable about residing in the apartment that you are writing about due to criminal activity, you have no obligation to accept it from the housing authority.

The first responsibility that you have is to provide a safe living environment for your children and yourself. If the apartment that you are concerned about will not provide a safe environment to live in, then do not occupy it.

I would advise the housing authority of your reasons for not accepting this particular unit in writing keeping a copy of the letter for your future needs.

Good luck.

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