If I had a lock breakand I paid to fix itout-of-pocket. is itOK to send the receipt and deduct the cost from my rent?

My super never came by to fix it. I just want to make sure I am not doing something completely illegal that will jeopardize my security deposit. I’ve tried to call every legal aid office for Queens and nobody is helping me.

Asked on November 30, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you have provided written notice to the landlord to fix the lock and a reasonable opportunity for the repair to be made, then you probably can make the repair yourself (since it goes to safety and habitability) and deduct the cost from rent. However, even if  this would, if challenged, ultimately be held to be legal, if the landlord does challenge it, you could be forced to defend yourself in court--which is never certain, and which can cost money and time. You may wish to try this, but to be prepared to absorb the cost yourself if the landlord challenges it, to avoid litigation; or better yet, try to get authorization in advance to make the repair and deduct the cost.


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