Q: I live in a condo in New York City. Abatement for defective vent that blows foul smells into apartment?
The vent blows air into my apartment instead of withdrawing air as it should. Consequently, the whole apartment often fills several times a day with unpleasant cooking and bathroom smells from elsewhere in the building. My email records show that I have been complaining since 2008, sometimes several times per year. The building superintendent and the maintenance department have tried to fix the problem, and have sometimes been successful, but the problem has always soon returned.
Last month, I emailed the management company and explained the history, saying that the super had repeatedly done his best to fix the problem and failed, so it was likely a construction defect. There followed a flurry of activity from the management company, but they did not fix the problem.
I now want to claim an abatement and refund of the monthly common charges. Question: How much would courts likely award if i sued and won, as a percentage of the common charges? Going back how many years? Tk.
A: If you are the owner of a condo unit, you do not have a typical landlord/tenant relationship with the board as you would in a coop apartment. Therefore, abatement may not be the correct term to use. If you want the situation corrected, you will need to have the formation documents carefully reviewed to determine the options available to you. If your board does not correct the situation, you may ultimately have to seek an Order in Supreme Court seeking to compel fulfillment of the board's duties and reimbursement of any damages.
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