We own a 2 bedroom co-op on first floor over basement which holds trap that stinks up our apt badly for three years.Do we have a case?

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We own a 2 bedroom co-op on first floor over basement which holds trap that stinks up our apt badly for three years.Do we have a case?

Our pleas and complaints to management have fallen on deaf ears.My sons room is especially bad with odor that comes from trap below.He hasnt slept in his room for so long.I pay 930 dollars monthly for maintenance for a 2 bedroom yet i only use one because of neglect on their behalf.The entire apartment has a constant foul smellof sewage.There is only one trap for drainage for a total of 10 apts.THe basement is constantly flooded with water and foul crap that we are steadily breathing in.I have complained to mgmt constantly and all they do is drain it for it to happen again.

Asked on May 20, 2009 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The basement is, assumedly, a common area and subject to maintenance by the co-op.  Have you brought the issue up directly at your co-op board meetings?  Is this what you meant by complaints to the management or is there a managing agent? I would bring your prospectus with you to the meeting with the lawyer so that he/she can read it and have him/her copy the co-op board if there is a management company.  The building is a multiple dwelling and the condition is most likely violating one or more of the laws that govern such buildings.  The lawyer would be able to let you know what violations the building may already have with regard to this condition or how to engage the help of the City agency to correct the problem once and for all.   

J.M.A., Member in Good Standing of the Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I suggest that you hire a lawyer to write a simple letter to the landlord that the property is a private nuisance as a rsult of the smell and is depriving you of your quiet enjoyment of your property (i.e. leasehold).  If the landlord takes no action, i would file a lawsuit seeking an injunction that requirs the landlord to remediate the smell.  I would also stop paying rent and put the money in an account for the landlord to give once he fixes the problem.  You should not have to deal with this.  You could always move out and claim that you have been constructively evicted as a result of the landlords failure to maintain a healthy environment and has deprived you of your quiet enjoyment.


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