Can I ask for rent decrease after I had huge air pipe put in throught my apartment?

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Can I ask for rent decrease after I had huge air pipe put in throught my apartment?

I live in a very small studio. Landlord did renovation, and put in air intake tube for the new boiler through my unit. It goes along entire wall, up near the celing; it’s 15inch in diameter, shiny metal pipe. Uncovered and uninsulated.

Asked on August 29, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You most likely do not have a basis for a rent reduction, unless the pipe in some way so damages habitability of your unit as to render it effectively uninhabitable; when a condition affects habitability--but only when it affects habitability--a tenant may be entitled to a rent abatement based on the implied warranty of habitability.

(Technically, it may be that the landlord has "taken" some of the space you rent from him, depriving you of some of the space possession of which you pay for. But consider the math: say you have a 400 sq. studio. Since each square foot is 144 square inches, and a 15" diameter pipe occupies around 160 or so sq. inches, you have lost just over 1/400th of your space. That means that if you are paying, say, $800/month rent, in terms of the reduction in space, you're proportionately entitled to get around $2/month back--which is hardly worth fighting for. That's why only a significant impairment in habitability will get you meaningful relief.)


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