My landlord stole my roof deck

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It is possible that only a NYC apartment dweller emerging from a long, cold winter can fully grasp the depth of the tragedy depicted by these before-and-after photos posted on's forum yesterday. A renter's roof deck retreat (left) has been ripped out and returned to its natural tar-beach state by the landlord, who isn't going to replace it. It seems there was water damage to the apartment below.  The deck--built, perhaps illegally, by the landlord--was a major reason for renting the apartment in the first place, and the tenant wants it back.  

But does the landlord have to?

Brownstoners say the answer is a resounding "no" if use of a deck isn't in the lease. If the apartment were advertised with a deck, a tenant could go after some satisfaction (rent reduction, for example), suggests one commenter, but it would be costly and winning, unlikely. Moral of the story: Make sure the outdoor space is included with the lease.


For related posts: 

How high is too high for a roof deck?   

Deck envy

Drawbacks to high-rise life

Birth of a roof deck

Is it okay to put a common roof deck near a private terrace?