Ceiling Collapsed, What Are Our Rights?


    A few days ago the ceiling in the living room of my apartment collapsed. I live with roommates and we all rent month-to-month. The roommate who has been here longest collects our rent checks and writes a single check himself to the landlady, who lives in the building and is 83 years old.

    The collapse was during some especially rainy days, and my room, off the living room, was the most directly affected. When I say collapsed, I don’t mean a little bit of plaster. I mean huge chunks of stucco that shook the wooden floors when they fell. Left a hole of about four feet. Could have very seriously injured someone, and I am not exaggerating on this point. I was home alone. I collected my landlady and my roommates within the hour, and then we were all there to witness how a second huge chunk came crashing down. This was about 6 pm, and the landlady called the maintenance guy she uses for the building. At about 9 pm he arrived to say that he could do nothing that night and that whoever was living in the room off the living room (that would be me) should sleep elsewhere. The landlady refused to put me up in a hotel and since I had nowhere else to go, I camped out in my own room, stepping over the rubble.

    There had been water marks in the living room stucco ceiling even before I moved in (about 3 months prior). Within a couple of days of this collapse, my roommates reported that two other rooms in the apartment were experiencing leaks. The landlord apparently knew that these leaks existed (a couple of us are quite new to the apartment) and had done nothing about them. I have heard tell that there had been some issues with the roof when the previous tenants were here, but it seems that the modus operandi of this landlord is to do as little as possible in such circumstances. All indications would suggest that the living room ceiling collapsing is also due to the obviously badly leaky roof. My landlady wants to claim absurdities like: the ceiling collapsed because someone had drilled a hole to install a light fixture (this can’t possibly be the reason, as the light fixture had been installed for many months before the collapse). She has denied the wooden beams underneath the stucco being wet so forcefully and repeatedly, even before anyone suggested this, that it has to make you wonder.

    They’ve since slapped on some sheet rock to cover the moldy, wet beams. I don’t care to think about what’s really under there or how long it will be before we see more rot or collapse. As background: this building is filthy and decrepit in every way. The bathroom tiles are falling out, exposing swatches of years-old moldy gunk underneath. No one had taken a vacuum cleaner to the stairwell in years, until I very recently and very loudly complained about it. There is simply NO maintenance of this building, period. In addition, my landlady’s dealings with me are clearly in bad faith. She has often, and absurdly, denied problems which I can plainly see with my own eyes. “I don’t see a water stain there” she answers when it is pointed out to her. Come on!

    Clearly I need to move out and quickly. Clearly, I have little faith that issues can be negotiated as though among reasonable adults. My question is: do I actually have to have had a piece of stucco fall on my head in order for the danger to my health and safety to be eminently clear? I feel that some serious abuse is going on here and would like for the landlord, at minimum, to acknowledge the ordeal of the past days by paying my moving expenses to a new place. An inspector came by to see the premises at the stage in the disaster when workers had already scraped off the entire stucco ceiling and left the naked beams above. The landlord was issued a class B violation , and now, as a result, the workers slapped on this layer of sheet rock. Ostensibly, this is supposed to fix the problem and get the inspector to go away.

    What I’d like is for the landlord to pay the broker’s fee for my finding a new apartment and the cost of hiring a truck to move my things, so about $3000. Does anyone have any advice for how to achieve this? I’m a pragmatist and would just like to find a way of negotiating my exit out of this nightmare. Clearly the landlord and her family have no intention of paying anything unless they feel some greater financial threat. Advice?

    62 Replies

    1. “I honestly believe that the landlord’s cheapness is a danger to the people who live here, and would feel pretty good finding a way to give my roommates some bargaining power once I leave. At least then some good would come out of these lousy few days.”

      A very good way of giving you and your roommates bargaining power is to stop paying and leave immediately. They call it voting with your wallet.

      As for a lousy few days, BFD. Tenants go weeks on end without hot water. I went 2 straight months without heat in January/February because of a deadbeat landlord. Taking cold showers and huddling oneself under an electric blanket is real hardship IMO. Many of us just starting out in NYC had experiences with cheapo apartments and bad landlords, myself included. It’s a rite of passage if you are penniless. The bottom line is that this apartment represents a bad quality of life for you and you are just taking out your poor decision on the LL. Get out ASAP.

    2. Many many snarky thoughts kept to myself– but must share this little one…

      It might be amusing if Glass got sued for trespassing, dumping, and/or B and E (no lease/
      no implied right of access).

      You are so sure that LL’s are the majority of above posts? Doesn’t sound like it to me.
      There is a lot of balance shown, and even compassion for your plight– but you know what they say about ‘none so blind as those who will not see’.

      Consider buying your buddies some beer (or whine, for your hipster friends) and have a moving party. It may help you leave with a better taste in your mouth, not a bitter one.

      Good luck in your new address.

    3. I’ll stop posting here, since the majority of the nasty comments seem to be from landlords. As I mentioned, my landlord too somehow found a way to make this out to be my fault. Many of the other posts have helped, however, especially from those people who took time to specifically address the details of my situation.

      I honestly believe that the landlord’s cheapness is a danger to the people who live here, and would feel pretty good finding a way to give my roommates some bargaining power once I leave. At least then some good would come out of these lousy few days.

      Thank you everyone.

    4. You get what you pay for. The roommate on the lease is probably hustling you and the others and pocketing a bit of the rent collected. And now you are trying to hustle the old lady LL.

      Tell the head weasel that you will not be paying any more rent and using that saved money to get another place. Save receipts,pictures,and document everything incase Primary tenant tries to sue for back rent.You might talk the other 2 into going in with you.

    5. next time fake a serious brain injury – you missed a prime nyc rite of passage. let’s just chalk it up to inexperience. turn “could have been killed” into “made a killing”. call your borough president’s office for more specific information how to move forward with this type of operation. (hint, more stuff may “fall” so be “prepared” next time).

      you’re not cashing out, you’re buying in.

      (extreme sarcasm warning)

    6. You come off as a scam artist. You don’t have $3000 in damages. How much of a fee did you pay to get into this palace? How much did it cost you to move your vast possessions into it? You chose to move into a dirty crumbling place without the responsibility of a lease. Please post your name so I will be sure never to rent to your entitled whiny self.

    7. “And the ceiling probably DID fall down from drilling.”

      You people crazy. Seriously.

      Anyhow, feel for you on the collapse, sorry that people are jumping down your throat on this one, but I’m afraid that the general “You’re probably not going to get anything out of this, cut your losses and get out” sentiment rings pretty true. W/o a lease, w/o personal injury and w/o a desire to spend more than you’ll make on attorneys, you should probably just take what you can and split.

      …and let it be a lesson everyone: always have a lease.

    8. Send a letter putting them on notice that you need repairs to be made and what they are but say that you invested significant money to get there so you would obviously like to work things out. Put your rent money in an escrow account and wait for their response. When they respond negatively, call the Dept of Bldgs and get them out there and see what they say. If they sound like they are on your side, tell the LL that you intend on taking the matter to housing court. This should buy you at least a couple of months in which time you’ll look for another place and then move. You don’t actually have to take them to court, just buy yourself some time, save your money and get the heck out of dodge. I told you how I handled my old LL and you are asking for advice that only legal counsel can provide…so call an attorney. The average will spend five minutes on the phone with you.

    9. If you really want legal advice, talk to a lawyer. As a non-lawyer with some experience in this area, I am not sure you have any standing as your name isn’t on the lease. The warranty of habitability applies to the tenants who have legal standing to be there. My advice to you is not to waste your time trying to get any money from the landlady. You may try your luck in housing court or small claims court, but in the meantime, it sounds like you need a new place to live. The landlord has absolutely no obligation to pay for moving or broker’s fees; her only obligation is to the legal tenants of the space.

      As to the building getting condemned, the Department of Buildings may issue a vacate order if there are structural issues that make the building unsafe. Then everyone is SOL and needs to find a new place, including the landlady.

    10. Thank you to everyone for their comments, even the testy ones. I would really like to hear from people who have had actual experiences, either in housing court, or in dealing with a landlord after a similar disaster. Only by getting a clear sense of how the law works in practice and what others have experienced can I figure out how to best to proceed with my particular situation. Which is why I’m posting here. Does anyone know how and in what circumstances a building is condemned? My roommates are actually fearful that this might happen, but I don’t know what the process is like.

    11. You’re not coming across as sympathetic, Glass. That might be your problem with the getting of advice here. I remember the days myself of being young and outraged at my landlords. There was the time we asked our landlady to fix the plaster that was crumbling on our wall and she showed up with… a bag of plaster. When I asked her what we were supposed to do with that, she said, “I thought you were handy!” And so, we decided not to renew our lease. There was the time my toddler locked herself in our apartment and the super refused to come open the door for me. (At 3PM on a thursday when he lived 3 blocks away.) The landlord refused to fix the lock that me and the police broke (it was a $10 lock and it was in our lease that we weren’t supposed to replace locks ourselves.) Then there was the time we had a rat in our toilet and I called the landlord and he laughed at me…. ah, the memories.

      But here’s the thing: nothing bad really has happened to YOU. None of your stuff was ruined when the ceiling fell in.

      So, basically, you want the landlord to give you money because the stairs are dirty, the building is old, and you don’t like the repair job. Those aren’t actual reasons.

      So you had to walk over some rubble to get to your room? Awwww… I hope it wasn’t too high for your widdle wegs? Did I mention there was once a rat in my toilet? Thankfully, the dogs killed it. Perhaps you should get a dog.

      I am impressed by your chutzpah, but I’d recommend you start looking for another place to live and make sure that the primary tenant gives you your deposit back. When the ceiling falls in and none of your stuff gets damaged you don’t automatically get $3,000 — not even if you’ve had to endure dirty stairs and tile falling off the bathroom. So sorry.

    12. grow up …if you really think that your delusions are founded in fact, move out, and sue your landlord for documented expenses, but be ready to be laughed out of court

    13. Did any of you geniuses stop to think there might actually be something called LAWS that address this situation? As alluded to, there is a warranty of habitability – this includes the right to enjoy your premises free of a ceiling falling down on you. You can abate rent in line with the PORTION of the premises that is considered to be inhabitable. So by law you could stay and be due a rent reduction based on the amount of unusable space or GET OUT. My advice – you have no lease, so move on, because even though you are legally entitled to the partial rent abatement, have fun getting it.

    14. P.S. It could take three weeks for a newly installed light fixture to fall — or three years. Or thirty years.

      P.P.S. I am a building owner with experience with plaster, leaks, fixtures, and middle-aged failing eyesight.

    15. OP, based on what you have said in your posting, it’s possible your landlady may be correct that the ceiling collapsed due to a light fixture, not a leak, and that drywall is the appropriate remedy.

      A water stain may or may not indicate a current, active leak. A serious leak will have water dripping from it, or the plaster will be wet to the touch. Is that the case?

      A ceiling certainly could collapse from a light fixture being installed. If the installers dislodged the plaster “keys” holding up the ceiling, it could fall down. This usually occurs when someone walks on the beams above the ceiling and breaks the plaster pushing up from the lathe beneath — in the attic, usually. But it’s possible inept drilling could have the same effect, especially if the light weren’t attached to anything except the plaster.

      So you might be overreacting. Or not, depending on the cause of the problem. What was the Class B violation for? The collapsed ceiling? Or a leak?

      Also, please keep in mind that the vision of an 83-year-old is not as good, and she may really not see any water stains.

    16. I’d really like to hear how this turns out.

      glass, Please post updates as it happens!

    17. One other thing – you should be aware that if you end up in Housing Court and a future LL runs a LL-tenant court check, it will come up and that may negatively affect your chances of getting an apartment as easily if you just leave.

      Why aren’t the three of you combining forces against this wack-job?

    18. Glass, while I am sympathetic to bxgrl’s comments about posts being an invitation to insult, it seems to me that most of them (rude or sympathetic) have said the same thing – move out and move on. Most of us have had “magical thinking” moments when we thought a lousy living situation (“As background: this building is filthy and decrepit in every way. The bathroom tiles are falling out, exposing swatches of years-old moldy gunk underneath. No one had taken a vacuum cleaner to the stairwell in years, until I very recently and very loudly complained about it. There is simply NO maintenance of this building, period”)could get better – 99% of the time, it just doesn’t happen.
      It pains me to say it, but I think BOD summed it up pretty well.
      And the withholding rent issue is one you will need to clear with the primary tenant – or, at least, get the other tenants on board (which you haven’t mentioned)

    19. If you are on a M2M lease, I would photograph everything – if you have not already and stop communicating with the crackpot and her bitchy daughter face-to-face. Send everything in writing with proof of delivery. You have no right to just stop paying rent – that money HAS to go into an escrow account otherwise you will come across as a scam artist should you end up in court.

      BTW – I sued a former landlord for failing to return our deposit and for the inconvenience of having to go to court I also asked for moving costs and they gave it to me though I went to small claims court instead of housing court. It was a brand new building, the hubs and I were in our mid-20s so we didn’t know what we know now. The LL conveniently forgot to tell us before signing the least that there was no CofO for the building and no gas – which we had to put up with for seven months. We left the place in better shape than we received it in so I decided to be a bitch and ask for the maximum judgement which at the time was $3000 and I got it. There seems to be a lot of sympathy in the court system for renters who end up with a slumlord like I did and you have. Moving ain’t cheap and if you have roommates, you probably don’t have a ton of extra money lying around to pay that expense again – I know we didn’t which is why we stayed in the place mentioned above for a year.

    20. I agree, cmu. But without finding the cause of the leak in the roof first, its a losing battle.

      By the way, BOD- sublets have to be approved by the landlord. Being a subtenant does not make the primary tenant a landlord and does not make him responsible for the condition of the building. That responsibility strctly falls on the owner.

      And if you read leases- although the OP does not have one- there are situations where a landlord would be responsible for putting up a tenant in a hotel or other place until repairs get done. The assumption this guy is just greedy or looking to make a buck is an assumption on your part. Considering the landlord lack of care, why shouldn’t he expect to get compensation for moving out? It’s expensive and the landlord is the one being irresponsible.

      That said, I think OP’s only recourse would be to withhold rent and set it aside for move out expenses. I doubt the OP is rich either.

    21. >cmu- if they slapped up th sheetrock without drying out the beams/joists and not repairing the roof, it’s kinds of a waste of time and money

      perhaps. he did not state that. also beams do dry out by themselves, IF the leak is fixed. For instance, I am doing nothing to ‘dry out’ the ceiling in the room where the roof tore off…as there is no more leak (hopefully) it will dry naturally and not cause mold or whatever.

    22. “I’ve rarely heard of landlords being told to suck it up and “learn the hard way” when something doesn’t go right for them. ”

      You obviously do not read the forum with any regularity as there are TONS of LL’s posting inquiries here about what to do with deadbeat / destructive tenants.

      “I didn’t have any reason to believe that my personal safety was at risk in moving here”

      But apparently you do now since you asked LL to put you up in a hotel. Do not expect anyone to take care of you except for yourself – at least not in the timeframe you are suggesting!

      “the basic premise of being a tenant is that you can expect a clean and safe living environment then I have not received that in exchange for my rent” Yes! you are entitled this, however you should be going after the prime tenant – you know, the sweet one who avoids confrontation? You pay HIM not the landlord.

      I apologize for coming off as condecending..but you are not thinking realistically nor practically. You need to take care of yourself first and expect zero hand outs. You walked into a less than ideal situation and got screwed. The easiest and quickest way to take control of the situation is for you to pick up and move yourself out. Then it becomes someone elses problem and not yours. As I said, you should have no problem finding a no-fee apartment.

    23. This situation is not fair, but any kind of fair resolution is very unlikely. You will need to pay your own moving costs, and broker fees if you choose to use a broker. It is very unlikely your landlord will pay these costs, as your description of the situation makes clear. Move out.

    24. glass…you say you want to negotiate your way out…

      Did you put up a security deposit? That’s at risk if you start “negotiating.”

      Your alternatives are 1. to sue or 2. to stay a few months and not pay rent and hope they don’t go after YOU in court. If you take the latter steps, make sure you’ve documented all of this with pictures.

      Problem is that you don’t have a real lease, only a month-to-month which lessens your bargaining power.

    25. cmu- if they slapped up th sheetrock without drying out the beams/joists and not repairing the roof, it’s kinds of a waste of time and money, no?

      glass- let this be a lesson to you. Never ask advice on a brownstoner forum unless you’re prepared to be insulted and demeaned. Sad but true.

    26. I have rights and I’m looking for thoughtful advice on how to best handle the situation in a way that is fair to everyone. I am also looking for anyone with experiences that might be similar, so I can get an idea of any precedents.

      I’m surprised you don’t have an equal amount of scorn for landlords trying to save a buck, and in the process endangering people’s lives? I’ve rarely heard of landlords being told to suck it up and “learn the hard way” when something doesn’t go right for them.

      I didn’t have any reason to believe that my personal safety was at risk in moving here, and that is my point. If the basic premise of being a tenant is that you can expect a clean and safe living environment then I have not received that in exchange for my rent.

    27. >The make about $3000 a month on our apartment alone

      Hard to believe that rent considering your description. Where is this located? You say thing like “the workers slapped on this layer of sheet rock” as if this were some substandard way to fix the ceiling. And then first you mention her age as if that was the reason she was unresponsive, then you say she has help in maintaining the place. Whole post is fishy.

      OP, your issue should be with your roommate on the lease; he has to deal with the landlady.

    28. i doubt you have renters insurance, but its worth asking….

      renters insurance? 🙂

    29. Your choice here is to move. You could stop paying your rent for a few months. I hope that you haven’t yet paid October’s.

    30. And FYI – no one pays broker fees anymore. At least not those who would otherwise tolerate crappy living conditions for the sake of saving a buck.

    31. Tons of advice has been given above – but it doesn’t sound like you are looking for advice here. It appears that you just want your opinions about the d-bag LL validated. Expecting a delinquent LL with a decrepit property to shell out $$$$ to alieve your suffering and help you move out is NAIVE and DELUSIONAL. Especially because you are a month to month SUB-tenant. Part of becoming a New Yorker is “learning the hard way”, acting resourceful in unfortunate situations, and putting your personal safety in top priority. Quit complaining – act on moving out and don’t look back. Crash at a friends place if you feel unsafe sleeping in your bedroom. A man-with-a-van is $300 bux. If you can’t afford a security deposit, well then sorry, time to look at less tony nabes than Boerum Hill.

    32. Save yourself the aggravation, a land lady at that age is completely worthless.
      I would divert all my energy to find somewhere better.
      She sounds like a nut case…. but trust me, she ain’t gonna give you nuttin, but a headache.

      Time to move on….it will be better for you in the long run.

    33. Warranty of Habitability ensures that everyone is provided with a clean and safe living environment. The landlady is NOT helpless, her daughter works in real estate and is quite involved in what goes on in the building. In fact, she was around all weekend and took the time to yell at me, apparently falling stucco is somehow my fault. My roommate who does the payments to her is a sweet person who just hates confrontations of any kind. There’s no deception going on on his side. I moved into the building on good faith, believing like everyone else, that we could work with the landlady to eventually take care of some of the more major apartment issues, and kind of put up with the rest of the problems and chalk them up to a “charming” old place. I’m starting to feel that this is building is a racket. The elderly landlady is neither scared nor has bad finances, they are raking in substantial rent each month and get away with doing nothing. The make about $3000 a month on our apartment alone. The events of the past days have been harrowing and the reaction of the landlady and her family have been nothing but belligerence and creepy denials. As I said, I just want to negotiate my way out of this nightmare, but I don’t think that after these sleepless nights and lost work days I should be the one coming up with the costs of my unexpected move.

    34. “As others have said, by paying rent you accepted many of the conditions. Not a collapsed ceiling, but basic building maintainance, etc.”

      Hate to disagree with you, MM but that’s not true. By renting the space, the landlord is held to the warrant of habitability. Doesn’t matter if the renter saw the conditions or not- the law is the law.

      Never assume a subleasee has no rights- look how squatters move in, and watch how hard it is for a landlord to get rid of them. When it comes to living quarters, people have rights- doesn’t make it fair, but its the reality.

      I don’t have much sympathy for the landlord- if you are making money from an apartment, you have responsibility to the tenant.But I am curious about the roommate who collects the money and pays the landlady. There is no way an apartment in that condition warrants that kind of rent money. It’s possible he is making money off the roommates as well.

      In any case, doesn’t sound like this place is worth the aggravation- move asap.

    35. Sounds like no-one here has a lease: “I live with roommates and we all rent month-to-month.” I wonder where this place is? Seriously, the poster knew the place was gross when he moved in, and, while the roof may indeed be leaking, I’m sure drilling a hole in the ceiling to install some sort of light fixture didn’t help (apparently this was not a professional job). I feel bad for the old lady trying to hold her house together while renting out her top floor to a revolving cast of characters – both sides are at fault in this story.

    36. get out of there as quickly as possible… and make sure you’re dealing with a good landlord the next time. The quality of the building and it’s maintenance is often a good clue as to how you’ll end up,

      also look up the dob’s housing search and search violations. read them carefully to make sure they’re not for silly things.

      if you’re using a broker try to pick someone that seems to be looking out for your welfare.

      Finally, this sounds terrible but you may need to up your budget or move to a less expensive area. There are amazing landlords in Crown Heights that are asking for the same rents as ‘deals’ in prospect heights. Except the deals are not deals, but your currents situation happening again.

      best of luck, and don’t take an 83 year old lady to housing court!! your karma will be shot for decades.

    37. she’s probably on death’s doorstep anyway. wait for her to die and then steal her house. pretend your her grandson or something.


    38. At this point you need to stop expecting LL to do ANYTHING for you, and start being thankful you are month-to-month, not on a yearly lease. Hello? you can leave with 30 days notice with zero hassles of lease obligations. Go find yourself another apartment stat, and chock this experience upto naïveté.

    39. Primary leaseholder is your landlord, not your landlady. And, I would suspect, they are paying considerably less than they charged you, so take it up with them. In all of your outrage about the landlady, why is there none for them? You are, technically, a sublessee of the original tenant. I think (and I could be wrong here, but not sure I am), that you basically have no rights. And you certainly don’t get money back from the landlady.

    40. 3k? Yeahright. You and your crew need to stop paying a single penny, move the fuck out and make sure you post the address on every forum so people know to avoid them like the plague.

    41. Instead of trying to shake down the landlady, you should be negotiating something with your roommates. It would seem that the person who actually pays the rent to the landlord would have the most standing. Shouldn’t they be the person seeking compensation?

      However, the person who’s been there the longest( and actually pays the landlord the rent) must have known about the conditions as well? Weren’t they the ones that deceived you? Shouldn’t you direct some of your angry toward their deception?

    42. And no, sheetrocking over the problem, even if it looks nice when it’s put up, is NOT going to resolve the underlying water proble. it’ll likely fall down in a week or so.

    43. As a former tenant in a place that had similar issues, I feel your frustration. As a landlord with limited funds, I feel for your landlord, especially since she is quite elderly, and may well be overwhelmed. That said, you should have a safe and up to code home. I think you need to move as well, but you lose me in sympathy in thinking you are entitled to have the landlady pay your moving expenses. As others have said, by paying rent you accepted many of the conditions. Not a collapsed ceiling, but basic building maintainance, etc. Perhaps you can negotiate to not pay your final month or 2 month’s rent, as you look for an apartment and then move, but expecting the landlady to pay you to move is a bit much. If she can’t afford to fix things, where is she supposed to come up with 3 grand to move you out? You may be trying to squeeze water from a stone, and trying to squeeze it out of an 83 year old lady is bad karma. My advice – try to negotiate with her first. If that doesn’t work, do what Bxgrl said.

    44. Yeah. Hate to agree with the landlady, but just because the sheet rock is ugly doesn’t make it the wrong solution. And the ceiling probably DID fall down from drilling. There are precautions usually taken by when drilling into old plaster. Oh, and how often were you guys up on the roof in the hot weather?

    45. You have only lived there for 3 months; it is a share and by your own admission it was “filthy and decrepit in every way”. Have you even paid the landlord $3000? A thousand dollars a month for a disgusting share sounds unlikely, yet you are asking the landlord to give you $3000?

      If your safety is your main concern, find another room to rent on Craigslist (broker fee free) and get some friends to help you move out.

      Housing court can take months and is not worth the aggravation; use your time, effort and money in finding a better place to live.

    46. Agree with bxgrl above. By leasing you the apartment the landlord gives you an implied a warranty of habitability which basically means that you are entitled to a safe, decent and sanitary apartment. That’s the case even if there is no lease. You could probably take the landlord to court for a rent reduction, but I would say your best option here is to just move out if you can. It seems to me more trouble than its worth to pursue it.

    47. doesn’t sound like you are on the lease, or if there is even a lease. So forget it. Just move.
      You have an old woman who can no longer manage the building and you’re trying to profit by it.

    48. I really can’t imagine the scenario in which you hold back rent. I’m assuming there are probably less than 6 apartments in the building? You have no lease? You never signed anything? You knew the apartment was in terrible shape when you moved in? The landlord has never received a check drawn from your account?

      Move out.

    49. You do have a right to a safe environment, and anyone renting to tenants must follow certain building and safety codes. You and your roommates would be better off moving someplace else but barring that, go to Housing Court and tell them you want to with hold rent until the apartment is made safe or until you have enough money to move out. Landlords must respond to housing court or get greater and greater fines. In the meantime, they won’t be getting your money- but you must do it through the court or the landlord can sue you for back rent.Document everything.

      It is possible, as OG says (in his otherwise useless post)that she doesn’t have the wherewithal to fix the roof- in any event your situation is not a good one. My question to you is why didn’t the roommate who has been there the longest let anyone know there were issues?

    50. Well let’s see…..

      You moved into a shi*hole of a building with an 83 year old landlady.

      1- Do you expect her to vacuum stairs?
      2- Do you expect her to acknowledge problems with the building? She has no ability to fix them on her own and probably doesn’t know who to turn to to get them fixed. Maybe her finances are bad and she is scared.

      SHE’S f#%&ing 83!!!!

      Grow up you self entitleted idiot. Move out on your own. While I don’t condone her inability to manage her property, she isn’t going to magically develop the ability to be a property manager.

      You are on the other hand, not 83. You saw the conditions upon moving in and you agreed to them by way of paying rent. But you thought it was a great deal because of the cheap rent until the ceiling collapsed. Stop crying. Be a grown up and take responsibility for your own actions. You are no more than an extortionist. Go back to Ohio or Philly or whever you came from whiner…

    51. Just move out. You have no lease and no rights as far as I the non-lawyer sees it.