New York Tenant Complaint Process


Landlord-tenant disputes are quite common, especially if the building being rented is not up to code. In New York, there are a slew of regulations that landlords must follow to ensure their building is safe and livable. A landlord is responsible for the upkeep of the property and for the health and safety of their tenants, which is referred to as the warrant of habitability. If this is breached, a tenant may file a complaint with the New York State Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). 

According to recent literature distributed by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, namely the ABC’s of Housing, New York tenants may file a complaint if they believe their dwelling is not safe and/or livable by calling 311 or by using 311 online. Once the complaint is filed, it will then be sent to HPD and the owner of the dwelling will be notified via phone and/or email of the issue. A call may also be made to the tenant to assure that the problem was corrected. If there is no indication of correction, then an inspector may be dispatched to the dwelling. 

Once an inspector is dispatched, they are required to inspect for six safety issues, which include:

  • The presence of operational smoke detectors;
  • The presence of operational carbon monoxide detectors;
  • Illegal gates on the windows;
  • Door locks that require a key to exit;
  • Window guards if a child under the age of eleven resides in the unit; and 
  • Peeling paint if a child under the age of six resides in the unit. 

If the inspector finds the landlord to be in violation of one or more of these six safety issues, the HPD will give the owner a time frame to correct the problem. The time frame is dependent upon the severity of the violation(s), which is outlined as follows:

  • Class A (Non-Hazardous)- 90 Days
  • Class B (Hazardous)- 30 Days
  • Class C- Lead-based Paint or Window Guards (Immediately Hazardous)- 21 Days
  • Class C- Heat and Hot Water Violations (Immediately Hazardous)- Immediately
  • Class C- All Others (Immediately Hazardous)- 24 Hours

Once the corrections are made, the landlord must notify the Department of Housing Preservation and Development through either the eCertification process or by completing the documents that were previously mailed to them. If a landlord fails to make the corrections at all or in a timely manner, there may be civil penalties for the landlord that will be imposed by the Housing Court. 

If you or a loved one have become physically ill or injured as a result of a landlord’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation depending on the circumstances. It is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to advise you regarding your legal rights and remedies. The attorneys at Georgaklis & Mallas are skilled attorneys who have experience in personal injury matters relating to landlord-tenant disputes. Call Georgaklis & Mallas PLLC at (718) 238-2400 or (212) 779-2400.