Q. I rent in a luxury apartment building which is going through some internal and exterior renovations.
I was told in writing that contractors would need to enter my apartment to complete a multi-day repair session to my leaky windows. While I welcome the repairs, as the leaky windows are frustrating during a rainstorm, I cringe at the idea of contractors and strangers being in my apartment while I'm not there.
Are there laws that support the landlord, or protect the dweller in this matter?
A. Yes, there are laws on point that are designed to protect the rights and obligations of both the landlord and the tenant in your situation.
Section 27-2008 of the Housing Maintenance Code states that “no tenant shall refuse to permit the owner, or his or her agent or employee, to enter such tenant’s dwelling unit” for the purpose of making necessary repairs.
However, § 25-101 of the Rules and Regulations of the City of New York requires that the landlord provide the tenant with proper notice in order to exercise their right of access. Specifically, the landlord must:
- Provide notice of not less than 24 hours if their intent is simply to perform an inspection in the apartment
- Provide notice of not less than one week if their intent is to perform repairs in the apartment (but no notice is required if the repairs are urgently needed such as in the case of a leaking water or gas pipe)
- The notice must be provided in writing and provide a statement of the nature of the repair or inspection
- If the landlord is having an agent or employee perform the work, the employee must have written authorization from the landlord and be able to provide such to the tenant at the time of access
- Except in the case of emergencies, landlord access must only be provided during the hours of 9 and 5pm on weekdays, excluding legal holidays
In addition, your lease also likely contains provisions related to your landlord’s right of access to your apartment. You may wish to review those provisions as well in case they differ in any material way from the above referenced laws and regulations. However, any provision in the lease that provides less protection than is provided to tenants in the above referenced laws would likely be unenforceable.
Mike Akerly is a New York City real estate attorney, landlord, and real estate broker. He is also the publisher of the Greenwich Village blog VillageConfidential.
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