Tenant Denies Access for Non-Emergency Repairs
Q I need access to an apartment whose tenant has filed a reduced-service complaint with the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR). The tenant has denied me access to make repairs on more than one occasion. If the tenant keeps denying me access, how can I avoid a rent cut—or, if the DHCR issues a rent-cut order, how can I get the rent restored?
A According to the DHCR's no-access policy, if a tenant denies access for repairs, you must send the tenant a letter to arrange an access date, proposing a specific date. You must send this letter by certified mail, return receipt requested, and mail it at least eight days before the access date you're proposing.
If the tenant doesn't respond to the letter, you must send a second letter by certified mail, return receipt requested, specifying another access date. You must also mail this letter at least eight days before the proposed access date.
If the tenant doesn't respond to your second letter, state in your answer to the tenant's complaint, or in a letter to the DHCR's District Rent Administrator (DRA), that the tenant has denied you access to the apartment, preventing you from making the repair. Or check off Box C of the rent restoration application, to indicate that the tenant has “unreasonably refused” to permit you to restore the service.
Be sure to include copies of the letters you sent, and the certified mail return receipts, as proof.
The DRA deciding the case will then schedule a special “no-access” inspection at which a DHCR inspector will be present and to which you can bring your repair workers. If you're ready to make repairs and the tenant doesn't give you access, the DRA should dismiss the tenant's complaint or grant your rent restoration application.