Ask an Expert

Can I get reimbursed while my NYC building's garage is closed for repairs?

  • Rent-stabilized tenants can negotiate a rent reduction for the loss of building services
  • Another route is to file a complaint with DHCR seeking a rent freeze for lost services
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By Emily Myers  |
June 12, 2023 - 9:30AM
Parking flooded with water due to external leaks

Rent-stabilized tenants are not entitled to a payment because the garage is closed, but can make a case for a rent reduction.


The garage in my building needs to be renovated and residents are required to move their cars out. I’m a rent-stabilized tenant. Can I be compensated for the cost of parking somewhere else?

Your landlord will not pay you for your inconvenience but as a rent-stabilized tenant you are in a position to negotiate a rent reduction for the loss of building-wide services, our experts say.

"Under the rent-stabilization law, garage parking space is considered a required building-wide ancillary service," says attorney William Gribben, a partner at Himmelstein McConnell Gribben & Joseph (and a Brick Underground sponsor). Other ancillary services might be access to a roof deck or a gym. The idea is your rent reflects that "all those things are part and parcel of your tenancy," Gribben says. So a building owner must provide and maintain those services.

More New Yorkers may find their garages are closed for repairs now that Local Law 126 requires periodic safety inspections of parking structures. This law precedes the fatal collapse of a parking structure in Lower Manhattan in late April and is an attempt to identify unsafe conditions and make sure they are promptly fixed. 

Filing with DHCR for a rent freeze

If the landlord takes away a service during your rent-stabilized tenancy, you can file a complaint with the Division of Homes and Community Renewal (DHCR). "The order issued rolls the rent back one renewal lease increase and freezes the rent at that level until the service is restored," Gribben says. This prevents any rent increase until the garage is back in operation. It is a powerful tool because the rent freeze affects all the rent-stabilized tenants in the building who sign the complaint, he says.

This can prevent the landlord from raising the rent for an incoming tenant if lots of residents are involved in the action and one moves out. 

A catch with filing a complaint with DHCR is the timing of the work. Depending on the scope and length of the garage renovation, you may find the service is back up and running before DHCR makes a decision on your complaint. If the garage is back in operation, DHCR will discontinue the case.

"The only remedy is a rent freeze and the rent freeze is prospective from the point in time when the DHCR files the order," Gribben says.

Negotiating a rent reduction

Another way to approach this is to negotiate a rent reduction instead of filing a complaint with DHCR. Gribben has done this in lots of situations arguing for $200 to $300 off the rent for a client until the service is restored, with the assurance they will not file a DHCR complaint. 

"Lots of landlords will do this rather than face the possibility of a building-wide rent freeze," Gribben says.

Market-rate tenants do not have these protections and if you are an owner or shareholder in a co-op or condo, you will need to look at the building's documents to evaluate the remedies, if any, that are available.

Keep in mind maintenance to the garage may not feel like a priority but the requirements for upkeep and repairs are designed to protect you and make sure your building is safe.  


Headshot of Emily Myers

Emily Myers

Senior Writer/Podcast Producer

Emily Myers is a real estate writer and podcast host. As the former host of the Brick Underground podcast, she earned four silver awards from the National Association of Real Estate Editors. Emily studied journalism at the University of the Arts, London, earned an MA Honors degree in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh and lived for a decade in California.

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