New law helps apartment dwellers with asthma

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1,532,508 people in New York state (or 9.9 percent of the state's population) have asthma. Living with asthma is difficult enough, but it is even harder when the conditions in your home make it worse.

Fortunately, on January 19, 2019, Local Law 55 - the Asthma-Free Housing Act - went into effect.

The Asthma-Free Housing Act requires landlords with three or more apartments in a building to take action to reduce asthma-causing triggers such as:

  • Mice and rats
  • Cockroaches
  • Mold

Under the new law, landlords must undertake an inspection of the building every year to identify indoor allergens. If they find asthma triggers in the common areas or the apartment units, they must take steps to fix the problem within 24 hours.

What can you do if your landlord won't fix the problem?

As it is with any law, there are sure to be some people who won't follow it. If your building has asthma-causing triggers and your landlord doesn't remove them, there are things you can do.

It's usually best to speak to the landlord first. If their landlord still do not comply with the law, tenants should call 311. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will make the conditions known to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, which may take action against the landlord.

Pest infestations may also constitute a violation of the warranty of habitability. If the problems in your building persist, you may want to speak with an attorney.

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