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If I'm renting in a condo, does the owner have to re-paint the apartment?

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Question:

I'm moving into an owner's condo, and it hasn't been painted in over four years. Do the same rules about landlords painting every three years apply to leases in condo buildings, or is that only for rental buildings?

Answer:

Just because you're renting in a condo building doesn't mean you can't have the same standard rights to which every New York City tenant is entitled. As we've written previously, when an apartment owner rents out their unit to a tenant, they take on the same responsibilities as any other city landlord.

And it's a clear-cut provision of NYC administrative code that landlords in a multiple-dwelling building (in other words, a building with three or more units) are required to re-paint their units every three years. However, as renter's rights attorney Sam Himmelstein (FYI, a Brick sponsor) has told us in the past, many landlords follow this three-year rule loosely, if at all.

If you haven't yet moved into your unit, now would be a good time to request the paint job, and politely remind the landlord of their obligations. Because once you move in and get all settled, the onus is on you to move your furniture out of the way for the re-painting—meaning that getting the job done before you move in (or while everything is still in boxes) would be an easier process for everyone involved.


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