Q: In January, I moved into a two-bedroom, market-rate apartment on the Upper West Side. Days later, a gut renovation began in the apartment above mine, inundating me with noise all day long. As a high school teacher, I’ve had to leave the apartment to teach my Zoom classes elsewhere. My landlord won’t tell me when the work will be done, and today the contractor told me the demo has caused a leak in my ceiling. I don’t know what to do at this point. Please help.
A: Your landlord should, at the very least, fix the leak and tell you when the construction work will be done.
“It makes no sense that they won’t give you a timeline,” said Michael Mintz, the chief executive of MD Squared Property Group, a property manager in Manhattan.
Your landlord could make your life more tolerable in other ways during this process. Mr. Mintz suggested giving tenants noise-canceling headphones to drown out the din, setting midday quiet hours during which workers take lunch breaks, and, if necessary, giving rent concessions.
warranty of habitability, a state law. You may even be able to get an injunction against the landlord to stop the work or complete it within a set period of time if the conditions are found to create a nuisance. Your case would be stronger if the landlord rented the apartment to you knowing work was about to begin and failed to disclose that information, said Robert J. Braverman, a Manhattan real estate lawyer who has handled cases about construction defects.
Another route: Call 311 and ask that the Department of Buildings send an inspector to check for violations, hazardous conditions or illegal work. The department could issue a stop-work order if hazardous conditions are found. That would bring you some peace and quiet.
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