Must I pay the co-op refurbishment fee if I must move out of my apartment due to a medical condition?

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Must I pay the co-op refurbishment fee if I must move out of my apartment due to a medical condition?

I am a new tenant in a co-op apartment. A tenant that lives on the floor below me engages in smoking marijuana and possibly other illegal drugs. The smoke and fumes are traveling into my apartment through the windows, radiators and possibly other areas. I am an asthmatic and at times cannot even stay in my apartment due to having difficulty breathing in addition to other side effects. I have contacted the building management, 911, HPD, and NYC drug hot-line. I have been told by all that a tenant has the right to do anything they choose in the privacy of their own apartment.

Asked on September 15, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

You need to carefully read the written lease that you have have with your landlord for the rented unit in that its terms and condiitons control the obligations owed you by the landlord and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law. Read the lease carefully regarding ways that you as the tenant can possibly terminate the lease.

Most likely there is no provision in your agreement allowing its termination as a result of conduct of a co-tenant. If not, you might consider speaking with the neighbor whose smoke travels into your unit causing you the problems seeking a solution to the problem. You could purchase an air purifier to run in your unit to assist your breathing.

Although a tenant may have the right to do what they can do in the privacy of their own apartment, the smoke is leaving the tenant's apartment and entering yours causing discomfort. You potentially have a nuisance cause of action against the tenant whose smoke is entering your rental.

I suggest that you contact your local landlord tenant clinic for further suggestions for you to try and resolve the situation.

One possibility is to simply ask the landlord to end your written lease early and hope that he or she does.

Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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