Q: I live in a ground-floor, rent-stabilized apartment in Harlem, with a window in the living room and another in the bedroom. For years, the security bars on both windows lacked emergency egress and space for a window-unit air-conditioner. I requested emergency egress for the bedroom window and a gate to accommodate air-conditioning in the living room, but when the landlord replaced the building’s windows, he put an emergency gate in the living room window and standard bars in the bedroom window, so neither accommodates air-conditioning. I’m stuck with a portable air-conditioner, which is much more expensive than a window unit. Can I compel the landlord to install bars that allow for air-conditioning?
A: Your request might seem straightforward: If the landlord is installing new gates for the windows, why not simply install the type the tenant has requested? But few things about New York’s rent regulation rules are simple.
“The law makes it difficult for the landlord to accommodate the tenant’s request,” said Peter A. Schwartz, a real estate lawyer who specializes in rent stabilization and rent control, and a partner in the Manhattan law firm Graubard Miller.
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