Too many people feel uneasy, scared or anxious when they are at home. These feelings could stem from dangerous conditions in or around an apartment building or an abusive or harassing landlord that makes tenants feel unsafe.
If you are in this difficult position, you should know what you can do to protect yourself and make your home a more comfortable place to be.
Protecting yourself against violence
Crime happens in New York City. However, landlords must take reasonable steps to keep tenants safe. This means securing entrances with functioning locks and performing swift repairs if locks break. It could also mean installing security cameras in public spaces.
If your landlord fails to provide these protections, or you still feel unsafe despite his or her efforts, you can take your own precautions. Tenants should keep valuables out of plain sight and close their blinds. Locking windows and doors, even when you are home, is also important.
You might also consider installing a video doorbell that alerts you when someone is at your door. Before you do this, however, you must be sure that your landlord allows such devices and it does not violate other tenants’ privacy.
Protecting against dangerous conditions in your home
Some apartments (especially older apartments) contain serious hazards, like lead paint, mold, asbestos and other harmful substances. Broken stairs, defective appliances and faulty wiring could also put tenants in danger.
To address these, tenants should notify landlords immediately of these or any other unsafe conditions in a home. It could also be wise to purchase renter’s insurance and avoid any activities that could make a dangerous situation worse.
Protecting yourself from your landlord
Know that unless there is an emergency, a landlord must provide you with reasonable notice before entering your apartment and can only enter for good reason such as needing to make repairs or inspect violations or show the apartment to prospective purchases or other reasons specified in your lease.
Further, in New York City, a landlord can only enter your apartment if he or she provides reasonable notice (often specified in your lease) and is providing agreed-upon services, complying with the terms of the lease, or showing the apartment to prospective tenants.
If your landlord violates any of these protections, tenants have grounds to file a complaint and potentially a lawsuit, as well.