If for nearly a year I have had a mousce problem in my apartment, what is the best way to apply pressure on the board to get them to take more aggressive extermination measures?

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If for nearly a year I have had a mousce problem in my apartment, what is the best way to apply pressure on the board to get them to take more aggressive extermination measures?

Asked on November 29, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You have two main options:

1) You could withhold rent (though put it away someplace safe--do NOT spend it!) until they deal with the problem; if they try to evict you, you will raise habitability as a defense and let the court know you have the withheld rent and will pay it when the pest problem is dealt with. This does have some risks, since if the court concludes you were not justified in withholding the rent (the mouse problem was not bad enough to affect habitabilty; or the building was taking reasonable steps to address it), there could be repurcussions.

2) You could file an action (lawsuit) against the building, seeking a court order (injunction) forcing them to take more aggressive action. Obviously, there are costs involved in a lawsuit.

Every situation is different; you ideally should speak in detail with a landlord-tenant attorney about the specifics of this situation; the attorney can guide you in taking action--and indeed, a phone call or letter from a lawyer is sometimes all that is required to make somoene take the situation more seriously.


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