It’s your landlord’s responsibility to fix basic things in your apartment. For example, your landlord must fix issues like:

  • Peeling paint
  • Leaks in the ceiling
  • Broken sink, oven, or stove
  • Roaches, mice or bedbugs
  • Broken or non-closing windows
  • No heat or hot water

In New York City, a landlord has 24 hours to fix “immediately hazardous” conditions, like heat or ovens or sinks that don’t work at all.  They have 30 days to fix “hazardous conditions” like leaking ceilings or roaches. “Non-hazardous conditions” like peeling paint must be fixed within 90 days. Review a full list of problems a landlord is required to repair, what fines your landlord could pay for not fixing them, and how long your landlord has to fix them.

The first step is to make sure your landlord knows about the problem. In order to do that, write down a record of the problem, and then call 311 or ask your landlord in writing. For more information, visit the "First Steps" tab.

If you've done those things and the landlord still hasn't done the repairs you need, you can start a case in Housing Court. Visit the “Housing Court” tab for more.

 

Step 1. Create a "Record" of the Problem

Write down the details of the problem, like a leak, broken oven, or a lack of services like heat or hot water. If possible, take a photo. This "record" can help if you talk to a lawyer or go to court. You should also maintain a log of when you have no heat, hot water, or cooking gas. Use a log to keep track of your heat and hot water problems.

Step 2. Ask Your Landlord In Writing

You can also send a letter to your landlord asking for repairs. Include a list of all the repairs you need and a reasonable date that you’d like the repairs completed by.

You can send this letter "return receipt" if you want proof that your landlord received it.

Keep a copy and add this letter to your "record".

Step 3. Call 311

If your landlord is not responding, call 311 for city services. If you tell 311 about a housing problem, they will send your complaint to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. HPD enforces housing laws in New York City. Learn more about calling 311.

Step 4. Taking Your Landlord to Court

If a long period of time goes by and your landlord still doesn't make the necessary repairs, you can sue your landlord in housing court to force them to make the repairs. Find more details on what to do by visiting the Housing Court tab above.

You can file a case in Housing Court. This is known as an HP case or HP Action. 

What is an HP Action?

An HP Action is a legal process in Housing Court to make your landlord follow the law. Your landlord must keep your apartment safe and livable. 

Before starting an HP Action:

  • Document the problems in your apartment. Keep a detailed record that includes dates, times, photographs, and any communication you've had with your landlord about the issues.
  • Tell your landlord about the issues and give them a chance to make repairs. This step is important to show you tried to solve the problem.
  • If your landlord hasn't responded, call 311 or file a complaint online or through the mobile app. This step is important because it creates an official record of your complaint and proves that you tried to fix the problems.

How to start an HP Action:

  • You officially begin the legal process by filing an HP Action with the Housing Court. To file, go to the Clerk's Office at the Housing Court in your borough. Explain that you want to file an HP Action. You'll need to fill out specific forms for your case. These forms will ask you for details about the problems, your efforts to inform the landlord, and any evidence and documentation you have.

You may have to pay a fee depending on where you live. Check with the Clerk's Office to find out if there are any fees for filing.

When you give your forms to the Clerk's Office, they will give you a court date. Get ready to go to this hearing and present your case. Learn more about getting ready for housing court.

At the court hearing

During the court hearing, explain your situation and show proof of the problems and your efforts to get them fixed.The court will look at the situation and decide what to do.

Learn more about what to expect in housing court.

Possible outcome #1: The court rules in your favor

If the court decides in your favor, it means they'll tell your landlord to make the fixes within a set time. (The landlord might also have to pay fines for not dealing with the issues on time.)

Once the court rules in your favor, here's what you should do:

  • Take a good look at the court's decision. Make sure you understand what repairs or actions the court is telling your landlord to do.
  • Keep an eye on whether your landlord does what the court ordered, and keep good records of everything they do. If your landlord follows the court's orders, write down what repairs or changes they make. If they're not fixing things, make a note of that too.
  • Stay in touch with your landlord. If the repairs are still happening, you can politely ask how things are going.

If your landlord does not follow the court's orders, tell the court. Ask the court what you should do next.. 

Possible outcome #2: The court rules in the landlord’s favor

If the court decides in favor of your landlord, it means they didn't find enough evidence to make the landlord fix the problems. This could be because the judge thinks there wasn't enough proof, the case didn't meet legal requirements, or the problems are minor. 

If the court decides in favor of the landlord, you can keep fighting if you really believe your case is right. Talk to a legal expert about your options. Even if you don't win in court, there might be other ways to address the problems. 

If the court gave you any specific orders, make sure you do them. Ignoring the court's instructions could lead to legal problems.

If you are being harassed by your landlord

You can also take action if you are feeling harassed by your landlord.

Harassment means a landlord, or someone working for them, tries to make you feel like you have to leave or give up your apartment rights. This includes using force or threats, stopping essential services, filing fake court cases, taking your belongings, messing with doors or locks, or doing anything that seriously bothers you.

You can ask the Housing Court for a penalty and an order to make your landlord stop harassing you.

Where Should You File Your Case? 

Where Should You File Your Case? 

If you want to start a case against your landlord, go to the Clerk's Office at the Housing Court in your borough. You don't need a lawyer to start this type of case.

Find the court for your borough:

Bronx Housing Court
1118 Grand Concourse
Bronx, NY 10456
HP Clerk
Lobby
Window 7
718-466-3014

Kings Civil Court
141 Livingston Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
HP Clerk
Room 202
Window 10
347-404-9200

New York Civil Court
111 Centre Street
New York, NY 10013
HP Clerk
Room 225
Window 5
646-386-5500/1

Queens Civil Court
89-17 Sutphin Boulevard
Jamaica, NY 11436
HP Clerk
Room 209
718-262-7145

Richmond Civil Court
927 Castleton Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10310
HP Clerk
Basement
L&T Window
718-390-5420

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Last Reviewed: June 13, 2022