Home Business That broken intercom in your apartment is illegal. This is what you should do.

That broken intercom in your apartment is illegal. This is what you should do.

by SuperiorInvest

Q: I live on the sixth floor of a 54-unit co-op building in the West Village. Five years ago, during renovations on the apartment below mine, a wall was removed and I lost connection to the building’s intercom system. It has never been restored. The building’s architect is supposed to review and approve all renovations, but apparently missed this problem. I have notified building management several times, to no avail. The regular doormen are aware of the problem and call me on my cell phone if necessary, but when others are on duty, I miss deliveries and visits. That I have to do?

TO: A working intercom isn’t just a convenience when visitors or food deliveries arrive – it’s a legal requirement. Under the state’s multiple dwelling law, buildings built or converted after 1968 with eight or more units must have a two-way voice intercom system connecting the front door to each apartment. The city’s housing maintenance code also requires a working intercom.

“As a result, the co-op has a legal obligation to repair or replace the intercom,” said Nancy Kourland, a partner who handles real estate litigation with Manhattan-based Lasser Law Group.


Additionally, Ms. Kourland said, courts have found that intercoms are an essential service and that failure to maintain them is a violation of the warranty of habitability under state law because it affects the habitability and safety of an apartment.

You can check your property lease to be sure, but it is highly unlikely that intercom system repairs as you describe would be the responsibility of a shareholder. Write a letter to the co-op board notifying them that you have not had a working intercom since 2019 and that it needs to be repaired immediately. You can add that if it is not repaired, you will take additional measures.

If the board does not respond, you can seek relief by filing a 311 complaint or initiating an HP proceeding in housing court.

You can withhold your maintenance fees until a repair is made, depending on the property lease. If the co-op takes legal action against you for nonpayment, the broken intercom could be a defense in court, said Andrew I. Bart, a senior trial attorney specializing in co-ops and condominiums at Kagan Lubic Lepper Finkelstein & Gold. LLP.

If the problem was caused by your neighbor’s renovations, your neighbor may be responsible for the repair, depending on the terms of the lease or modification agreement that was signed when the work was performed, said property department partner Andrew Freedland. Herrick roots. . If your neighbor is found responsible, he may file a claim against his contractor, Freedland said.

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