DIY when apt's super & landlord don't?
January 14, 2009 1:53 PM Subscribe
My main gripe are the dirty hallways. I rent a 1BR in a 32-unit apartment building in Brooklyn. The rent is well below market and the location is good, but the building isn't properly looked after. The super and landlord and by-and-large my neighbors just don't care. What's the best approach?
posted by timnyc to human relations (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have a great deal -- my rent is less than half the market rate and I like the neighborhood. I'm not moving anytime soon. I'm sure many of my neighbors feel that you get what you pay for and don't rock the boat. But I want to make the best of things.
1. Our hallways are almost never swept and mopped (maybe 2x/year for mopping). They are disgustingly dirty. I've called our landlord, who's actually a friendly guy, but he does nothing. I've spoken to the super, who says he'll get around to it. Last time I watched as he mopped only one of six floors. He says he has a bad back, but he should hire someone. I've told him this. I've told the landlord this. Nothing. More generally, the building's just falling apart. The buzzer system doesn't work, a paint job's needed, there are periodic roof leaks that are badly patched, etc. Should I hire someone for cleaning and/or other fix-it jobs? Can I deduct the cost from my rent? I'm inclined to think my laisser-faire landlord wouldn't care.
2. People smoke in the hallways and drop their buts on the ground. When I see someone doing it, I'll sometimes nicely ask them to stop, but it doesn't do any good. One complication: the building is one-third white middle class and two-thirds Puerto Rican lower middle class/poor. And the smokers are Puerto Rican. The consensus culture of the building permits smoking (and littering of buts, candy wrappers, beer bottles, etc.). But it's illegal and gross, right? I've asked my landlord to put up signs, but nothing. I'm told that the thing to do is organize a tenants association, but I'm not sure I'm up to that kind of major effort. And I don't get the feeling that the neighbors would be into it. Is there any other way? Should I put up my own signs? Call the City? I'm hopeful a regular cleaning would help.
3. Sort of a separate issue, but I'm without a lease (as are at least some of my neighbors). I've been asking in letters, phone and in person for about 2 years and nothing. On the upside, no rent increase. But I'm worried about how I'm protected against being evicted without compensation in case the landlord decides to sell the building. Am I right to be worried? What should I do?