As a month-to-month renter, do I still need to give my landlord 30 days notice if he has failed to eradicate a bedbug problem?

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As a month-to-month renter, do I still need to give my landlord 30 days notice if he has failed to eradicate a bedbug problem?

There has been repeated verbal and written notices for the past 2 months. The apartment is now uninhabitable. He has been hit with a Class B violation from HPD.

Asked on September 6, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

Mark Siegel / Law Office of Mark A. Siegel

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A Class "B" violation under the NYC Housing Maintenance Code is a hazardous violation & the landlord is required correct it within 30 days, by filing a certification of correction. If the landlord fails to correct the violation within the required time, the landlord is subject to the imposition of fines by HPD.

You also have the right to commence an "HP" action in NYC Housing Court (in the county where you reside) in order to seek a judicial Order to Correct. If there's a finding that there is a code violation, or that the landlord has failed to comply with an Order to Correct, the judge has the power to fine or in some cases, may find the landlord in contempt & issue an appropriate order.

If your apartment is rendered uninhabitable because of a code violation or condition, then this may constitute a constructive eviction. When a tenant abandons the apartment as a result of the code violation or condition, if the court finds that the code violation or condition constructively evicted the tenant, the tenant may have a claim against the landlord. The infestation of bugs in an apartment building, where it is not caused by the tenant, & which cannot be corrected by the tenant, constitutes a constructive eviction.

If you choose to abandon the apartment because of a bedbug infestation, you should send a written notice to your landlord that a Class "B" hazardous violation was issued by HPD for bedbugs (enclose a copy of the violation), that it constitutes a constructive eviction & as a result you are forced to abandon the apartment & surrender the keys. I would send this notice to the landlord together with the keys, by USPS certified mail, return receipt requested, & send a 2nd copy of the letter by regular mail with a "certificate of mailing".

I suggest you consult with an attorney who practices in this area of law to determine what specific rights and claims you may have against the landlord under the particular facts in your case. I hope you find this information useful. 


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