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** PLEASE NOTE: YOU ARE VISITING AN ARCHIVED WEBPAGE.**

This webpage is an archived image of the Office of the Public Advocate's website as of December 31, 2013. These materials are made available as historical archival information only. The Office of the Public Advocate cautions that the information has not been reviewed subsequently for current accuracy and completeness, nor has the information been updated. The information contained on this page may have been superseded by subsequent events and the passage of time.

To assist New Yorkers with property management issues that may arise in their apartment buildings, condos or co-ops, Public Advocate de Blasio established a hotline and compiled the local government resources below.

For more information on addressing a specific housing problem, please select one of following categories:

In addition, constituents can call the Public Advocate's Constituent Services hotline directly at (212) 669-7250 during normal business hours or email gethelp@pubadvocate.nyc.gov.

RODENTS

How Can I Get Help?

  • Tenants with rodent infestations should contact the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene via City's Citizen Service Center at 311. Tenants can also file complaints online by clicking here.
  • The New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene is the principal agency charged with addressing rodent infestations in New York City. The Department's Pest Control Services Division conducts inspections following receipt of complaints and determines whether exterminations and/or property clean-ups are necessary.

Laws and Regulations

  • An owner is required to keep the premises free of rodents. When the premises is subject to infestation, an owner shall apply "continuous eradication measures. Extermination of rodents or other pests means elimination through the use of traps, poisons, fumigation or any other method of eradication."
  • City of New York's Housing Maintenance Code Sec. 27-2018

For More Information

  • To learn more about the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene’s pest control program, click here. Click here for the offiical NYC.gov guide on getting rid of roaches and mice. Click here for the official NYC.gov guide on preventing rodents on your property.
  • Visit the City’s Rat Information Portal (RIP) website to learn about what you can do to control rats on properties you own, manage, or live in.

BED BUGS & INSECTS

How Can I Get Help?

  • Tenants can file complaints with the City by calling the New York City Housing Authority at 311 or taking the owner to Housing Court.

Laws and Regulations

  • Bed bugs are considered hazardous; landlord must eradicate the infestation within 30 days and keep the affected units from getting reinfested.
  • City of New York's Housing Maintenance Code Sec. 27-2017

For More Information

  • To learn more about preventing and getting rid of bed bugs safety, click here.
  • For the official NYC.gov Fact Sheet on Bed Bugs, click here


GARBAGE CLEANUP

How Can I Get Help?

  • Tenants can file complaints by calling the New York City Department of Sanitation at 311. Complaints can also be filed online using the forms below:
    • Building owners must provide storage areas for receptacles and recyclables, post signs and remove mixed trash from recyclables. To report a violation, please complete and submit this form.
    • Backyards, courts, alleys and airshafts must be kept clean of debris at all times. To report a violation, please complete and submit this form. Residential property owners must keep curbside area clean up to 18 inches to the street. To report a violation, please complete and submit this form.
    • To report an overflowing, broken or uncovered receptacle, please complete and submit this form.

Laws and Regulations

  • For tenants in New York City, regulations regarding the right to a clean and sanitary apartment state that owners of residential buildings must “keep the roof, yard, courts and other open spaces clean and free from dirt, filth, garbage or other offensive material.”
  • City of New York's Housing Maintenance Code Sec. 27-2010-2012
  • In addition, state law requires that “the owner shall keep all and every part of a multiple dwelling, the lot on which it is situated, and the roofs, yards, courts, passages, areas or alleys appurtenant thereto, clean and free from vermin, dirt, filth, garbage or other thing or matter dangerous to life or health.”
  • New York State Multiple Dwelling Law Sec. 80

For More Information

  • To learn more about New York City’s residential sanitation collection program, click here.


LOSS OF POWER

How Can I Get Help?

  • Tenants can file complaints by calling HPD Code Enforcement via the City's Citizen Service Center by dialing 311.

Laws and Regulations

  • For tenants in New York City, the right to sufficient electricity can be found in City of New York's Housing Maintenance Code Sections 26-1901, 33, 234 and section 248.

For More Information

  • To learn more about addressing the loss of power, click here.


EMERGENCY REPAIR

Who is Responsible?

  • If the owner fails to make the necessary repairs in a timely manner, the New York City Department of Housing and Preservation Development (HPD) may be able to help address emergency repairs. The HPD website states that “if an emergency condition is verified by the inspector, the last validly registered owner and managing agent of the property will be notified of said emergency condition by letter and/or by phone and instructed to repair the condition. If the owner fails to make the necessary repairs in a timely manner, HPD's Emergency Repair Program (ERP) may repair the condition. If HPD's ERP repairs the emergency condition, HPD, through the Department of Finance, will bill the owner for the cost of repairs.”

Laws and Regulations

  • For tenants in New York City, the following Housing Maintenance Code violations are eligible for emergency repair by HPD:
    • Danger or potential danger to life or limb caused by a maintenance problem
    • Explosions/Fires (Fire Department must also be notified)
    • Gas Leaks
    • Passengers stuck in elevators (with or without service)
    • Floods
    • Power failures/apartments without electricity
    • Main sewer stoppages
    • Apartment door/door knobs not working
    • Toilet stoppages
    • Heat and hot water complaint

For More Information

  • To learn more about addressing HPD’s emergency repair program, click here.


RIGHTS TO SAFE & LIVABLE RESIDENCE (Warranty of Habitability)

Laws and Regulations

  • Under New York State Law, every lease for residential property contains a Warranty of Habitability. This requires every landlord to ensure residential apartments do not pose a threat to life, safety or well-being. The Warranty of Habitability also requires landlords to keep public areas of residential buildings (entrance-ways, lobbies, hallways, etc.) safe and clean.
  • While the Warranty of Habitability does not define specific standards of habitability, it covers a wide range of applications. If you feel your landlord has violated the warranty, you may be entitled to a rent reduction.
  • Warranty of Habitability, New York Real Property Law Section 235-b

How Can I Get Help?

  • If you feel that your landlord is violating your rights of habitability, document the issue and communicate with your landlord:
    • Make a list of items in the space that render it uninhabitable and violate the warranty of habitability; be very specific, thorough, and record the date when the problem first occurred. A sample list can be found by clicking here.
    • Take pictures; document the date/time the picture was taken. Make sure you have a corresponding picture for each complaint. Hold a yardstick or ruler near the problem to demonstrate the size of the problem. Make sure your property is neat and clean when you take the pictures.
    • Keep a log of the complaints made, letters written, and conversations with the landlord or his agent. A sample log can be found by clicking here.
  • Contact the NYC Citizen Service Center at 311. Remember to document the phone call on your log.
  • If the repairs are not completed:
    • After you have contacted the landlord, and if the conditions are still not repaired, you may go to court in the county in which your apartment is located, to begin a New York City Civil Court Housing Part (HP) proceeding against your landlord. The court fee is $45. For more information on starting a HP Proceeding to obtain repairs, click here.
    • Watch this video to learn more about filing a claim and the HP Proceedings process.
    • If you would like to consult an attorney, please call Legal Referral Service (212) 626-7373, Legal Aid Society (212) 577-3300, or Legal Services (212) 431-7200.

For More Information

  • To get more information on your rights in Housing Court: The City-Wide Task Force on Housing Court has information tables in most Housing Courts. You can call them at (212) 962-4795 or the Metropolitan Council on Housing at (212) 979-0611. 


LOSS OF HEAT & HOT WATER

How Can I Get Help?

  • Tenants without heat or hot water should contact the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) via City's Citizen Service Center at 311. The TTY number is (212) 504-4115.
  • In cases where private owners fail to restore hot water, or when HPD is unable to reach owners, HPD's Emergency Repair Program (ERP) uses in-house staff and private contractors to make the necessary repairs to restore essential services.

For More Information

  • To read more about HPD’s heat and hot water requirements, click here.

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