Is a tenant responsible for payment of a housing violation fine if they promptly correctedit but the landlord was tardy in addressing the issue with the court?

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Is a tenant responsible for payment of a housing violation fine if they promptly correctedit but the landlord was tardy in addressing the issue with the court?

My landlord told me that I had to remove a hasp/padlock that I had on my apartment for added security. I removed it within an hour of being notified and I took pictures. From what I understand, this is a Class c violation that the owner has 24 hours to cure (and it was).  The date of the violation was September but the landlord waited until October to address the situation with the authorities. He now claims that he paid the fine ($500) and wants me to settle with him outside of the housing court. But wouldn’t the city inspector have returned the next (the after having  issued the violation) to verify whether or not the violation had been corrected? Am I responsible?

Asked on February 7, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The repair of a housing violation is generally the party that owns the home.  That is obvious.  But a homeowner - say a landlord - can transfer the obligation to repair to the tenant through the lease or, if the tenant created the violation, then they can dispute the charge legally.  The City has no right to go after the tenant - there is no privity with the city; the lease is with the landlord .  The city can only go after the homeowner.  So here if the homeowner delayed in addressing the violation with the city - and it was his obligation to do so not yours - then it would be unreasonable for him to pass on the fine to you if you complied with his request and it was done within what you claim is the appropriate time period.  Good luck. 


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